Friday, March 30, 2007

The Nasty Bits

This is the title of my favourite Anthony Bourdain book, and it happens to fit my recent travel experience to a T.

I will also quote from one of Bourdain's chapters on Vietnam, but in a later entry regarding the totally insane traffic conditions.

So here's the thing: I was part of a group of 16, mostly people I know from church, almost all of whom are more than twice my age. At least half of us got hit with gastrointestinal upset in some form or other, and I wasn't spared. The upside: I make it a point to carry an arsenal of medications whenever I go overseas, so I handed out pills to the afflicted, with good results. Now everyone calls Maxolon a miracle pill. Haha. :)

Itinerary: Ho Chi Minh City, Dalat, Nha Trang and Mui Ne regions.

The food: not too bad, except for the fact that some of it caused the GE problems. We suspect the cold dishes are to blame. Or maybe the flies. Or the dodgy ice cubes. Or the generally filthy environment. Take your pick.

The first few days were pretty good. Food was excellent -- lots of fresh greens, superb seafood, tender chicken and beef, loads and loads of fragrant pho. Stayed at the cozy Novotel Dalat ( left ), which presented each guest with a silk scarf as a welcome gift, and offered a wonderful breakfast spread in an alfresco setting.

We also visited the renowned night market, which was really bustling during the weekend. Highlights include mutant vegetables such as broccoli the size of a small child's head ( right ), equally gigantic cabbages, potatoes and artichokes. At rock bottom prices. A veggie lover's paradise!

There were endless rows of stalls hawking everything from T-shirts ( US $1 upwards ) to gorgeous key chains with traditional tribal dolls ( I bought 5 ), a mind-boggling array of BBQ ( corn, sweet potato, kebabs ).

The weather was nice and chilly in the evening, turning balmy with a light breeze by morning.

Due to time concerns, more entries will follow at a later date. However, I must state for the record that, despite being really sick and miserable during the later part of this trip, it was a profound and memorable experience, for reasons I will expound on another day.

In Other News

American Idol 6 has been a tame rollercoaster ride thus far, with the only upset ( in my book at least ) being that of Chris Sligh's elimination this week. My main grouse: Sanjaya's persistent safety. A friend's SMS says it best: Sanjaya lives to torture another day. Wah lau...

Right now, I'm rooting for Melinda Doolittle and Jordin Sparks, who appear to be jostling for the top spot. Guys-wise, perhaps Chris Richardson and/or Blake Lewis will make it to the top 3 if they play their cards right, but my hopes aren't very high.

Fare thee well, Chris S. You had a good run while it lasted.

Prison Break 2: Ah, it's good to have the Fox River escapees back on the small screen! And this time, they're running for their lives with an obsessed FBI agent ( Harry Fichtner ) on their tails, so it's definitely a lot more interesting than all that political maneouvring within the prison walls in Season 1.

But you have to admit the usual plot loopholes are still there, and why the heck are the guys strolling around without any disguises ( except maybe a cap, which is useless )? In the real world, they would've been caught within 24 hours max.

Oh yeah, and the scriptwriters want us to believe a rural vet is capable of reattaching a human hand without anaesthesia or proper operating equipment. With restoration of full functionality withn minutes!

I'm watching only because of Wentworth Miller okay? :)

CSI Returneth with a vengeance. CSI Las Vegas Season 7 is cooking up all sorts of fascinating scenarios with a serial killer who builds exact replicas of his crime scenes in the form of little dollhouses. CSI New York, on the other hand, will be back next Monday, so don't miss it.

Barbara Walters' interviews with the 10 Most Fascinating People of 2006 is also worthy of mention. There's an Oscars special, plus Patrick Dempsey, Andre Agassi and Jay Z, among others.

Last but not least, this is the event of a lifetime!

I've already booked my tickets ( my poor pocket, but I wouldn't miss this for the world ).

Till next time...

No comments: