Saturday, June 30, 2012

Glamour Shots

Hey girl.  It's your boy Lincoln.  Remember me?  I'm here with my girl, Tiga.  

We interrupt the regularly scheduled programming to bring you our latest glamour shots to celebrate the 100th post on my namesake blog.  Whut whut!!

We paused mid-Fight Club for this shot below.  That's all we can say about it, though... the first rule of Fight Club and all that.

Ok, carry on.

Stuff on 2- and 3-wheeled Vehicles in Vietnam

In the same vein as the internet meme, Stuff on My Cat, I am bringing to you stuff on 2- and 3-wheeled vehicles in Vietnam.

Despite having lived for almost 9 months in Jakarta, a place that is rife with motorbikes carrying all manner of unique and/or precariously perched goods, I was truly amazed by the stuff I saw being carried and/or happening on 2- and 3-wheeled vehicles in Vietnam, including bikes, motorbikes and the ubiquitous 3-wheeled cyclos, Vietnam's bicycle taxis.  I don't know if it's the contrast to the U.S., where everything is transported in big, opaque trucks, or if I'm amazed by the balancing act, but regardless, it continually made me laugh.

I was able to capture photos of some of the marvels, but some you will have to imagine, as the vehicle whizzed by too quickly for a proper picture.  

Stuff on Motorbikes:
Ladies riding side saddle.
A "tree" full of model airplanes.
Five people!!!
Five people... so good it necessitated 2 photos.
A garden?
Approximately 500 eggs.
Ten 5-gallon bottles of drinking water.
A lady AND her portable shoulder pole food distribution vessel thingy.
A washing machine!!!  I saw this not once, but 3 times.
Guys announcing that they are selling and/or offering services via a loudspeaker attached to the front of their motorbikes.  Some video I took in Hoi An is below!!

Stuff I saw but did not photograph... I've provided links to similar pictures if I could find them!:

Me, burning my calf on the exhaust pipe. Turns out they're hot. And you're supposed to get off the other side. Who knew?

The driver holding hands with a bicyclist, giving the bike some momento

Stuff on Bicycles:

Ok, so not a lot of photos of crazy stuff on bikes, but my favorite sight was 2 girls riding one bicycle (one sitting on the seat, one on the rack over the back wheel), both pedaling using the same set of pedals, feet side-by-side.  We saw this repeatedly.  Hilarious.

Stuff on Cyclos:

A ton of rice crackers.
I don't know what this is, but there's a lot of it.  And the guy gave me the thumbs up right after I took the photo.
Mannequins!!  Originally there were about 10 of them, but by the time I caught up to take a photo, there were only a couple pieces yet to be unloaded.

Stuff I saw but did not photograph... I've provided links to similar pictures if I could find them!:

2 Buddhist monks in their golden robes

1 cyclo driver lighting his cyclo on fire out of boredom (this happened in front of us while we were drinking a streetside beer in Hue.  I think the guy was a little unhinged.)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Nights in Da Nang

Tim and I hit the town a bit in Da Nang, grabbing dinner at the lovely Waterfront Restaurant, where we got a prime table overlooking the street and the Han River, which divides the city from the beach area.  

It was a warm, but not hot night, so people were out on the town.  Kids were riding bikes on the promenade by the river, fishing boats cruised by (illuminated by the bright neon lights that Vietnam seems to favor), and folks whizzed by on motorbikes, sometimes with their entire family perched precariously on the motorbike (more on that later).

Our meal was pretty tasty- a bit of Vietnamese fusion.  We started with one of Vietnam's favorite salads, the green mango salad.  So crunchy and good.  Then we followed that up with the twice cooked pork belly with a star anise and orange sauce.  Awesome:

We rocked a bottle of wine as well as some local (to central Vietnam) beer: Huda

After dinner we walked along the river until we spotted this cute bar and went in for a couple beers.  This time we went with Biere Larue, which they served with some kick ass super salty peanuts.

Good times.

Da Nang Days

Our Vietnam adventure begins in Da Nang, Vietnam's third biggest city (behind Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi), located on the central part of the coast. While it is pretty big, it's pretty calm and quiet right now, although it appears they are trying to rapidly change that by turning it into a resort destination to take advantage of the beautiful beach it abuts.

Back during the Vietnam War (or the American War, as they call it in Vietnam), Da Nang served as the main U.S. and South Vietnamese air base and also the R&R locale for thousands of American soldiers because of the beautiful beach that they called China Beach (the Vietnamese have different names for each section of the 30 km long stretch of white sand beach, including My Khe, My An, Non Nuoc, etc.).  The area was many soldier's first point of entry into Vietnam, and because of the evacuation hospital there (which you might remember from the late '80s show "China Beach") meant that many wounded soldiers were airlifted there, Tim's boss being one of them.

Now the beach is pretty quiet (at least until high tourist season), with tourists relaxing on the beach by day, locals hitting it up to swim in the early evening, and fishermen cruising by at all times of the day.   This crew of fisherdudes puttered down the coastline each morning with the Cham Islands in the distance and Son Tra peninsula and giant Buddha statue behind them.

Tim actually had meetings the first few days we were in Da Nang, so he didn't get to enjoy the beach quite as much as me.  Wa waaaa.

Welcome to Da Nang

Hey kiddos! Sorry for the lengthy delay in getting a post up... Tim and I are back in the Big Durian after living it up in Vietnam for the past few weeks, busy eating and drinking our hearts out, overindulging in all of the things that are hard to find and/or expensive in Jakarta: wine, cheap beer, pork, mounds of fresh herbs, crispy baguettes and flaky croissants, more pork, more wine, more baguettes, etc., etc. 

The mountains to the west of Da Nang from the airport.
I'm planning to post a bunch of stuff about of trip, including places visited, things eaten, things observed, feelings felt... In the meantime, please check out the beautiful sunset above and the bizarre but cute welcome drink that greeted me upon arrival:

Dragon fruit drinks served in tiny bamboo lounge chairs.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Jakarta Street Art

On the way home from lunch and a trip to the pet store today, I saw this funny and cool street art on the roadside in Jakarta.  

This is a fisherman luring in a mermaid with some rupiah:

A scary bear/cactus?:

"Save your brain": 

Tim Hangs in Hanoi, Part 3

Tim was pho crazy on his trip to Hanoi.  He got some more pho at this chain restaurant that he discovered also has an outlet in Jakarta near our house... we're definitely going to give it a try!

He also drank a ton of Vietnamese iced coffee... this one was at Cafe Nang, which is over 60 years old and which Travel & Leisure calls "the bohemian soul of Hanoi's cafe scene." 

Tim captured these banners celebrating the anniversary of Vietnam's reunification after the war:

While walking around, Tim snapped a shot of this old Catholic church, St. Joseph Cathedral, which was built circa 1886:

Aaaaand, finally, Tim was able to get a photo of some Hanoi's thousands of motorbikes, all lined up perfectly.  I think this is what those kids were going for:

That's it for Tim's trip to Hanoi, but we'll posting more photos and stories from Vietnam in a few weeks, as we're heading to Da Nang, Hoi An, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City!!

Tim Hangs in Hanoi, Part 2

More photos from Tim's time in Hanoi.
Unlike Ho Cho Minh City, Hanoi is not really known for its nightlife.  However, Tim said that this ice cream joint was hoppin' later in the evening.  While other streets in the area were relatively deserted, this street was jam packed with people riding motorbikes up to the storefront and them walking them inside.  Random.

This guy was making sugarcane juice on the street- running pieces of sugarcane through a press (in the second photo the sugarcane solids are shooting out the back):

Tim said these kids were all sitting around on tiny plastic stools, not drinking beer or playing cards, but drinking tea and eating sunflower seeds:  

These kids were staging a photo shoot with their motorbikes, lining them all up artfully in a row:

Tim ate a lot of pho while he was in Hanoi;  he hit up this popular spot, made famous by a visit from Anthony Bourdain.  The line was literally out the door:

Tim says this version was the northern style pho, with richer, more meaty flavor and a ton of green onion:

Tim says you could order smoked brisket to be sliced off these big slabs hanging in the middle of the restaurant (in addition to the regular raw beef that gets cooked in the broth).  He also said this guy with the long hair was drunkenly cutting in line and yelling at the store owners: