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Saturday, August 07, 2004

the cook, the belief, my life & the mattress cover

Priorities. I value priorities.

Meet Thanh: today I have hired a cook. Rather than a maid. Trained in French and Vietnamese cuisine.
A delicious dinner, I believe, is fundamentally more imortant for my life than a starched shirt collar. Or a perfectly ironed mattress cover.

As for the latter, I do not have one anyway. It just happens to rhyme with "lover".

the case of the gecko on the ceiling...

...has puzzled people since Aristotles Historia Animalium.
I will not think about it, as I do not intend to let it disturb my sleep.

The Gecko, I hope, will respect this and keep sticking to the ceiling, where it is.

Friday, August 06, 2004

freewheel burning

Ever since "easy rider" and other motorbike movies, the association of motorbikes with freedom has been popular. This relationship is particularly apparent - probably more than the movies - and certainly true in several ways in modern Vietnam.

I am not thinking about a steppenwolf subcultural opposition or drop-out connection here. However, the collective heavy metal thunder of thousands of scooters and bikes is impressive; and motorbikers in Vietnam do indeed act as if they were born to be wild.
Please excuse my late childhood memories, but the following judas priest lyrics do provide a quite accurate description of average Hanoi motorbikers.

Fast and furious
We ride the universe
To carve a road for us
That slices every curve in sight

This is a picture of what people do. The experience of riding a motorbike in Hanoi is much more dramatic however. I am unable to describe something even remotely resembling this.

But if you can cope with suicidal tendencies - yours and others - it is much more than exciting, thrilling, inspiring and fun, with a pleasantly cooling breeze.

Try it!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

tay ho

These two pictures were taken 5 minutes from my doorstep, yesterday:

...and here is my doorstep, gate, yard, front door and the livingroom:

The adsl connection finally works. Goodbye Godot.
I had to fiddle with different proxies though, for performance - and other reasons? I have been unable to reach blogger.com directly today. Am I just paranoid? Probably.

department of redundancy department

The compact flash card reader just stopped working. I can not post my pictures without it.

It is a harsh operating environment, I thought slightly frustrated, and could not help feeling like Captain Kirk, when I glanced at the the amp- and voltmeters in the stabilizer rack before switching on 10kW of airconditioners.

Next time, I will buy two card readers.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

blind date with Tajima-san

Tomorrow evening I will meet Tajima-san, who has just started working at the Unesco Hanoi Office . At his welcome dinner. Further priorities: I should really make some progress with regards to hiring a maid. So far, I have interviewed two candidates. Upon checking references, a former employer of one of them suggested the maid had an affair with the now ex-husband of the person I talked to. Who knows, this marriage might have been beyond rescue anyway, and the husband annoyingly...whatever.
The other person I intervied seemed to be a competent construction engineer, who wanted to work less because of her one-year-old son. Should I hire the affair-person or the construction engineer? Go figure.

fueled by coffee. inspired by puberty?

I've just included a link to a decent blog related to Hanoi. Lovely pictures.
Looking at this, Ok, my own tagline should read "inspired by puberty".

Next time I'll try to post someting else :)

As for the rest of this day, I will spend it, among other things, trying to figure out where, when and how I can get the PPPoE login details for my ADSL account. Having difficulties falling asleep last night, I decided to do nothing indecent but to sort out the configuration of my conflicting DHCP servers. Every appliance seems to come with at least one these days. Neverthless, the modem apparently works.

lenin and my panama hat

Under this scorching sun, as I ventured outside, I realised that I must have left my flawed pamama hat at the internet cafe yesterday. So here I am again, posting a picture.

Shopowner in Tay Ho displaying fermented cabbage:

Pictorial Imperialism? Not intended. Just to make sure this remains a culturally balanced blog, I will include another picture, of a russian gentleman I usually pass on my way to the city center.

Picture of a Russian Gentleman, featuring a complete lack of fermented cabbage:

Monday, August 02, 2004

about email, elderly ladies and surkål...

Hello world. Certainly this must be the most efficient way to spread news about surkål.

Sauerkraut in English (sic!) - surkål is Norwegian.

This blog serves as an exuse for posting in English only. I am curious if this kind of pull-communication will work. Thinking about it, I will not definitely confine myself to English only. I would like to encourage comments in any language, and I'll humbly start myself:

Exegi monumentum aere perennius. I do believe in pursuing ambitious targets. And irony.

Anyway, fermenting cabbage to me looks like a quite ambitious goal. Therefore, back to surkål: "stabburets surkål" was one of the first things I found when I was looking for food in Hanois West Lake District. Highly improbable. I thought. Well, I just have to learn that globalization is - surprise - a global thing.

Now, the elderly lady, who seemed to be in her seventies, has absolutely nothing to to with fermented cabbage. She just stole my mobile phone. Alas, this utterly mischievous and cunning deed took place in a train, where I was sitting peacefully by the window, in Switzerland.

Good bye, safe Switzerland.

Luckily I am in Hanoi now, in the West Lake District, in Tay Ho.