mastercopycat

Virtual meanderings

Tag Archives: eating

My Vietnamese diet (in photos)

Food, food, food…

Hanoi Restaurant Entrance

Hanoi Restaurant Entrance

I made this shot near the Ethnographical museum in Hanoi. What is it that a foreigner would see here? Let’s count.
1) A goat, tied to a tree in front of the restaurant entrance
2) A logo of the restaurant, featuring a goat’s head
3) A text in Vietnamese (incomprehensible to me).

The seemingly inevitable conclusion: it was a restaurant where they served goat meat, and the poor animal was a fresh delivery destined to end up in the kitchen. Whether this assumption was correct or not, I leave it up to you to check (by typing the text in an online translation tool or sending the photo to a Vietnamese friend). As for me, I will get back to this photo later in this post.

What I ate in Vietnam is mostly a big mystery to me. Of course, if I’d been dead set on avoiding eating strange stuff, I did have a choice – eat a buffet in the hostel I was staying at.  Once you stepped out , the situation was more or less like this: Menu lists were non-existent.  If they were, they would be in Vietnamese and would have no photos of the food. If photos were present those would be too small and the foreigner could not grasp what was there. If there would be an English version of the menu, the translation would be quite vague. Etc. And the people – smiling and friendly, but speaking no English.

In a situation like this I decided it was preferable (and frankly, quite amusing) to just pick up whatever I reasoned might be good. And I were often wrong. Read more of this post

Siem Reap Random Fragments

I decided to call this post on Siem Reap and Cambodia “Fragments”.

Gary Larson's Cartoon Far Side

Courtesy: the Far Side

***

            A quote attributed to U.S. musician Frank Zappa – “You can’t be a Real Country unless you have a beer and an airline – it helps if you have some kind of a football team or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer”.

Angkor Beer

Angkor Beer

Angkor Beer – check!

***

            In a similar vein. What do you need to have in order to be a Real Tourist place? A National Museum and an International Hospital for tourists, right? At the very least – Angkor National Museum at Siem Reap.

            Visited it on the last day of my stay and spent a good three hours there. Museum featured seven thematically organized exhibition halls devoted to different aspects of Khmer heritage and history. Hinduist (e.g. Angkor Wat) origins, short flirtation with Mahayana Buddhism (Ankhor Thom), fights with the neighboring empires, hall of the thousand Buddhas to remind of the  Theravada tradition…

           A suspicion: most artifacts ended in the museum after first being hacked off and stolen, then hidden and sold off –eventually ending back in the hands of the government. Might be wrong, though.

Heads…

 Siem Reap Angkor National Museum Artefact Daemon - Siem Reap Angkor National Museum Artefact

Angkor Thom Main Gate

Angkor Thom Main Gate Passageway

..and tails..

          In the last hall of the museum on a huge screen you can watch a video of the sun rising above Angkor. Every twenty minutes or so. By the way, the International Hospital is just a couple of hundred meters away.

Read more of this post

Evening entertainment for Thai people.

I really wonder how often visitors to Thailand ask themselves how Thai people entertain themselves and where Thai people go for an evening out.

Lest we forget, is it only natural that they need a way to socialize and entertain themselves – or you thought they are only around to serve you or take your money? Because it is what some people believe, judging by their behavior. Restaurants and fast food chains such as McDonalds tend to cater to foreigners (as well as the globalized urban middle and uper-middle class). After all, the Thai tourist industry was built around catering for foreigners since its very conception. In case you do not know how tourism started in the Land of the Free – it was when American soldiers came to Thailand (a US ally) to relieve themselves from the Vietnam bombing raids and to screw the local women. Forgive me if I am being blunt, but this is how things are (the Buddhist deities have been busy at work ever since delivering justice to everyone involved). What has followed since is largely the logical evolution of the originating act.

So, where do the “common people go”?

McSpicy McDonalds

McDonalds - this is not where 'common' Thai people go

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A dinner at Papaya (sans the papaya salad)

Getting from my Chiang Mai hostel to my Koh Phi Phi bungalow had taken a full 24 hours, and had been full of excitement. Here’s the breakdown for you:

Red truck ‘taxi’ from hostel to Chiang Mai bus station – 80 baht
Overnight bus from Chiang Mai to Bangkok – 660 baht
Taxi from bus station to BKK airport – 290 baht
Airplane from Bangkok to Phuket – 2800 baht
Taxi from Phuket airport to boat pier – 100 baht (after splitting the price in 4)
Passenger boat from Phuket to Ko Phi Phi – 500 baht
Water taxi to Long beach – 100 baht

Perhaps I should add  – being able to get some rest after all that – priceless.

It felt like participating in some episode of “By any means”.

By Any Means with Charley Boorman

By Any Means with Charley Boorman

In case you do not know the show, actor Charley Boorman is trying to get from Ireland to Australia – by any means of transportation. In the bottom of the screen there was a ‘types of vehicles used’ count, and it ended up well above hundred. Boats, cars, trucks, carts, bikes, scooters, animal riding, tuk-tuks, as well as some unique local designs that are beyound describing.

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