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Aliens in Vietnam

Gabi Yetter

"How do you say thank you in Vietnamese?"

The border guard stared blankly at me, mumbled something (which wasn't "thank you") and gestured me toward the baggage scanner before we reboarded the bus from Phnom Penh to Saigon (now known as Ho Chi Minh City).

I asked the same question of the officer who stamped my passport but he just gave me back my document and gestured me to move on.

The Contenders - The Girls

Nick Ross

Part two in a two part feature From The Word Hanoi. The see the guys go here

We’ve had such a great response to The Word Ha Noi Challenge that we’ve decided to up our contestants to 13. So, time to introduce them as they embark on their two-month journey to transform themselves from overweight or even underweight, into the physical Atlas of their dreams. The challenge will finish in early November.

The Contenders - The Guys

Nick Ross

Part one in a two part feature From The Word Hanoi. Fisrt the guys and then the girls

We’ve had such a great response to The Word Ha Noi Challenge that we’ve decided to up our contestants to 13. So, time to introduce them as they embark on their two-month journey to transform themselves from overweight or even underweight, into the physical Atlas of their dreams. The challenge will finish in early November.

No Logo

Tim Russell

Once again, the powers that be have announced another competition to design a logo & slogan for Vietnam’s tourism industry, following the much-maligned Hidden Charm campaign. Presumably they have been casting admiring glances at Amazing Thailand and Malaysia – Truly Asia, and hope that the new slogan will act as a silver bullet and turn Vietnam into a major tourism player overnight.

Meet Charisma Man

Joe Ruelle

An average Joe Ruelle moves to Vietnam and is suddenly a casanova. Or so the story goes...

My sister, who lives in Tokyo, once sent me a copy of Charisma Man the compilation. For the uninitiated, Charisma Man was a comic book anti-hero popular with western expats in Japan.

“Back on his home planet of Canada”, the opening strip begins, “Our hero was just an average guy.” This means loser.

“But when he landed on planet Japan…” — well you can see for yourself.

Street Talk :Tran Huy Lieu

Julia Plevin

Julia Plevin waxes poetic about an invigorating street that allures to an era bygone. Photos by Francis Roux / Noi Pictures.

Tran Huy Lieu is far too easy to miss but definitely worth a visit. It snakes around Giang Vo Lake and connects two major thoroughfares – Kim Ma and Giang Vo.

Fill Your Cup

Karin Esterhammer

Solace can be hard to come by in Saigon. Luckily the city possesses a wealth of cafes where peace and respite are as plentiful as the coffee. Karin Esterhammer investigates. Photos by Linh Phanroy.

If prizes were awarded for the noisiest city on the planet, Saigon would assuredly be among the contenders. If you’ve ever been irritated by a neighbour who liked to rev up his or her motorcycle, multiply that by 3.2 million or so. Mix in a cacophony of horns, loud karaoke music and nonstop construction noise and, within a few days, you’ll have inadvertently ground your teeth down to little nubs.

Why the travelling habits of Vietnamese and overseas tourists often clash

Vu Ha Kim Vy

In the first of a series of columns designed to give a deeper insight into Vietnam, Vu Ha Kim Vy explains why the travelling habits of Vietnamese and overseas tourists often clash.

When the Vietnamese travel they are noisy, overly active, jump queues and have no respect for other tourists. It’s an observation I often hear from foreign friends and colleagues, usually with the word ‘Why?’ attached at the end.

Tony the Tiger

Duncan Forgan

Seventeen years after setting up shop in an undeveloped country in dire need of foreign investment and expertise, Anthony Salzman has become one of Vietnam’s most valued friends in the business world. Duncan Forgan meets the entrepreneur to hear his remarkable tale.

Soothsayers and mystics might want to argue the toss, but accurately predicting the future is generally a pastime fraught with danger.

Fighting the Fear

Johhny Vagabond

It’s early morning and I’m on the motorcycle in very heavy traffic. I’m anxious, paranoid, and can’t stop thinking about crashing — I’m close to panicking. I know what the problem is but I don’t want to admit it. I’ve got the Fear.

Riding a motorcycle requires a certain amount of trust. Trust in your own abilities, in being able to spot trouble ahead and anticipate what others will do, adjusting accordingly. Trust in the physics that makes it possible to balance on two wheels at high speeds without falling off or the bike flopping over. Trust in your bike, knowing that the tires’ contact patch will still hold if you lean the bike just a few more inches because you came into that corner too hot.

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