Monday, July 31, 2006


Hey, sorry I haven't updated more regularly recently, things have been quite busy this side. I know it's the number one sin of any self-respecting blogger to let his blog stagnate for more than a few hours, let alone a few days, so I heartily apologise. When things calm down a bit this side, I promise an in-depth, cutting-edge, controversy-causing, side-splitting, uproaringly (I can't think of any more words with a "-" in them!) post that will have you tearing your hair out from excitement, angst and pure reading pleasure.

Hmm...that's a lot to live up to, I should tone that down a bit...

Oh and one more thing, Christoff is still alive - someone sent me an email and said they saw him at the Brooklyn Mall - maybe a lookalike - but I see him most days and he's fit and healthy - even a few kilos lighter! Until later.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

More photies

Two girls at their jewellery store in the market.

The city that never sleeps. They don't wear helmets when driving and this it is also the city that has the highest per capita head injuries anywhere in the world - as typified by the three motorcyclists in the picture zooming down on a blurry car.

These guys like to dos. Every day from 12-2pm is siesta time. Ola.

Despite the lack of apparant road-worthiness and safety these guys can drive motorcyles like Jimi could play the guitar - left handed, upside down, with a family of five on the back, packed with 8 crates of beer, you name it, they drive it.

A busy night at Arena. It's quite a nice place, except for the England shirts worn by the barladies.

Friday, July 21, 2006

This ain't no Ocean Basket, baby.

So you're craving some fresh seafood but there's not a good restaurant in sight? Don't fret, just look out for one of these dudes with a bucket of carp or bass. It's like shooting fish in a barrel, literally. It doesn't come any fresher.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The kids are alright

I don’t really like kids. Well, I guess that’s not totally true, because I teach them every day and you have to like them at least a bit if you’re going to teach them. What I mean is I wouldn’t like to have any kids of my own…just yet (or any time soon in the foreseeable future). They’re more energy-sapping then playing a full-length football match or a night stomping to Fuzigish or Dieselboy. They need constant attention and they demand it. All I hear every day is: “Teacher, teacher! Smackdown!”, or “Teacher, where you from?!” Everything about children is “need to know, need to be, and NOW”. It haunts my dreams…

But these kiddies in Vietnam are damn cute, though. Some of them are so small you can’t believe they’re not breastfeeding anymore and their parents have actually sent them to school. I have this little kid in one of my classes who looks like a lollipop – he has this tiny body with an oversized head and his mom gave him this huge backpack to carry so it looks like he’s actually stuck to his bag and not actually carrying it, but he’s really cute. Another thing is that most of these children have such a self-confident air about them. They strut their stuff without a care and when they see you coming down the road they jump at the opportunity to practice their limited English (“Hello, how are you? I’m fine” and then run away before you can reply).

Probably the most important of all – despite all the cuteness and naughtiness – they’re really smart and hardworking. I think sometimes their parents push them too hard, because, at a ridiculously young age – 6 or 7 – these kids have normal school, then in the evenings they have English classes and then do homework when they come home. They also have extra classes on the weekends and most of them go to English speaking club in the holidays.

But these kids are cool. I like them and I hope they like me. I think they like Christoff more because he always comes back from class covered in marker pen stains and when his students see him they shout “Teacher Chris! Teacher Chris!”. I’m gonna miss the John Cena/Rey Mysterio t-shirt clad buggers when I’m back in SA one day.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


I finally managed to upload some photos of my parents' weekend visit here. I've been trying for days but the Internet has been too slow (these Vietnamese love their online games slowing down the I-net café servers even more). I also used my journalistic discretion (!) in deciding not to post the photos from the evening at The Arena during the World Cup quarter-final between England and Portugal as well as pics of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts being caught with his pants down at Ben Thanh Market - who says I didn't learn anything in my Media Ethics module? By the way, if you know anyone who works for Die Son who might be interested in the photos drop me an email and I'd be happy to negotiate...

We had cockatils on the 23rd floor of the Sheraton with Lucille, Andrew and Erika (my brother's girlfriend, and South African friends who work here - respectively).

My mom and Christoff at Go2 in Pham Ngu Lao.

We had dinner one night at this awesome Vietnamese restaurant called Quan An Ngon (it means "Something Delicious").

We went for Sunday lunch at Binh Quoi, this toursity resort on the Saigon River.

From the left: Lucille, my parents, Andrew and Erika.

We had ice-cream at Fanny's - "Where all our ice-creams are made from your dreams".

My dad really wanted to go haggle/barter at Ben Thanh Market (I think he just liked all the attention).

This is him in action bartering for some Levi's.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Goodbye World Cup

Wow, what a grand tournament it was, it's a pity I have to get back to the mundane side of life and post about normal things - not that anything is very normal here in Vietnam.

It's a pity the World Cup won't be remembered for the emergence of great young talent like Lukas Podolski, Bastian Schweinsteiger (doesn't that translate to "pig shagger" in English?) and Fabio Grosso or for the graceful retirement from international football for the likes of Fabien "the monk" Barthez ot Luis Figo.

Instead it will be remembered for the ignorant and selfish actions of Zidane - what a man he used to be. I mean come on, I'm sure people get called all kinds of things that are worse than an "Algerian terrorist", or having their mothers insulted or told: "Your wife was good last night". Big deal if he got cripple-nippled by the Italian defender. Has he never played football in England with Craig Bellamy or Robbie Savage before??! I guess he hasn't...

Secondly, if you're going to pull a Cantona, do it properly man - at least headbutt him on the nose, not in the tum! Oh well, whatever, nevermind, as my cousin Kurt always said. He also said it's better to burn out than to fade away. I think Zizu sort of spluttered like a wet candle and then "poof", disappeared down the tunnel in a wisp of smoke, but that's just my opinion. Kudos to the Azzurri, they probably deserved to win.

Goodbye World Cup. Goodbye second place in the Fantasy League. Well done Alan, sorry Justin and Rik. The screen shot will follow tonight.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Who's going to win?

I was thinking of an interesting title for this post but decided that it's too short to waste energy on. All I actually want know is who is going to win the World Cup?

France? Well, they seem to be favourites and it will be a dream ending to a glimmering career for old Zizou (who was caught on long camera lens smoking an entjie before the Portugal match so that old myth that smoking is bad for you is now debunked).

Italy? History seems to be on their side, playing well in every third World Cup and the last time there was a Italian football scandal (as their is now at Juventus) they won.

Who do you think will win?

I'll tell you what I think on Sunday night (or Monday morning as the game is at 2 am in this far-flung corner of the world).

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Vietnam 2014

I was speaking to one of the teachers about the state of football in Vietnam and we both agree that one day, maybe not in 2010, but some time in the future, Nam will be at the World Cup. There are two reasons, he says:

Firstly, there are 82 million people (or more) in the country - do the math - if tiny Trinidad & Tobago got it, then why not Nam?

Secondly, and in my opinion most pertinently, this country is football crazy. Every kid and his mother has a football. They play it on every available inch of space. Those that can't afford balls use badminton shuttle-cocks and play "keepy-uppies". At night, they sit huddled in their little houses, illuminated by the neon green glow emenating from the football fields on their TV screens. They can't count to ten properly but they can say "Ronaldinho" or "Rooney" with perfect pronunciation. Every boy plays it at school and some girls too. If you keep very still anywhere in the city wou will be able to hear the faint sound of "Celebrate the day" pumping from somewhere. It's simple - if you have this kind of passion, you will succeed sooner or later.

Oh and it seems most of the population, except those too young to remember, are cheering for Italia on Sunday - and with reason - the atrocities the French committed in this country won't soon be forgotten.

This is the sight that greets you at the Maximark - the big supermarket just down our street. My brother will be proud it's Omo-branded.

Monday, July 03, 2006

What men they are

What a man he is a phrase regularly uttered by my friends and I. We use it to exclaim the brilliance either of ourselves (hardly ever each other) or someone worthy of such a superlative utterance. In this case, I direct it at two men. Thus: What men they are. The two international goalkeepers Jens Lehman and Ricardo that is.

The Portuguese keeper was the hero for his country as they progressed to the semi-finals of the World Cup after beating England 3:1 on penalties. Admittedly, I can’t remember every detail of the match due to my parents visiting for the weekend and embarking on a wonderful weekend of Tiger draughts and Vietnamese Dalat Wine. I remember hazy highlights such as Beckham limping off, missed chances, a groin-crushing stamp and Rooney sent marching. We also made a quick exit from the Barmy-filled pub we were watching at before things got out of hand. What stands out vividly though is the English’ vigorous attempt at superseding the Swiss as the worst penalty takers of the new millenium. Ricardo’s wonderful three saves made sure of a semi-final berth against the French who outplayed (didn’t think I would ever use that phrase with regards to the French at this World Cup) reigning champions Brazil. The Gallic flair and perseverance was enough to upset the Samba rhythm and keep them at arms length.

Lehmann pulled off the same magic, once and for all sending the debate regarding Klinsmann’s choice of choosing him over Kahn to bed. The Germans were as clinical with their penalty kicks as their snipers 65 years ago. Lehman settled it with great saves against Cambiasso and Ayala. They now face a rampant Italian team who ran over a lackluster Ukraine. With Toni Luca playing himself into the same form he showed for Fiorentina earlier this year, netting two goals for the Azzurri, the hosts will face a stern challenge.

Let’s hope some other great men come to the fore so that this will not be the last time I can say “what a man he is” when mentioning Germany ’06.

I think it fixed itself


Sunday, July 02, 2006

I think my blog broke

:( Hmm...I'm not sure what's going on, maybe I posted too much football news or something. Loesil het jy my blog gebreek?