Monday, July 31, 2006
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
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
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
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
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
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
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
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.
Monday, July 03, 2006
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.