Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vietnam views

Just some random shots from around the southern part of the country. These are the kind of pics you don't really know what to do with so they just lie around in a random folder until you have about five or six of them and then you're like *ahaa, let's make a little blog post out of them".

My football team the Saigon Raiders were out for a tournament on Phu Quoc Island about 6 weeks ago and these kids watched all the matches from their high perch. They couldn't have been more than fourteen, but they already had all the makings of football hooligans; jeering and cursing every missed shot or mistake, smoking cigarettes and pulling faces. Sure they'll grow up supporting Millwall.

One of the first, but by now not the last, "safe sex" shops around town. I doubt they have these up in Hanoi (any of you Northerners seen them?). No whips, chains or spiked rubber gear, just condoms, which is a great start. The little sign in the bottom right-hand corner asks explicitly for a male shop assistant as "we don't want to offend and tarnish the pure minds of our delicate females". Okay I made up that little quote.

This is one of the queerest things I've seen around anywhere. It seems to be a monument to capitalism in Socialist Vietnam. A family, with the kid in a trolly, out shopping, forever etched in stone outside Maximark Cong Hoa Hypermarket. The number one quirkiest bit of architecture I've ever seen was also at Maximark, now sadly removed. It was a Ferris Wheel, built right through the inside of this gigantic shopping centre, running from the basement, through the cosmetics and toiletries aisle and out through the roof!

An interesting and innovative bit of artwork in the "Year of the Buffalo", as the Chinese zodiac "Year of the Ox" is called in Vietnam. Actually, there's quite a bit of quirky art and decor out at Van Thanh Park in Binh Thanh District. Nice restaurants and a patch of grass for a pick-up game of cricket (and not so nice managers when you want to skateboard and ollie down the steps or chase each other around in their little pedal buggies).

Just off Pham Ngu Lao, near the Saigon Central Bus Station, stands this old bust up tjorra. I wonder if one of those green buses behind it had anything to do with it. Knowing the way those black-smoke belching behemoths take over the road I wouldn't be suprised.

And on the other side of the spectrum, this procession of beautiful Beetles out in Vung Tau for the International Kite Festival in March. They're from the Saigon VW Club who are based in Thu Duc District I think.


Ches said...

Hey Henno...did you know I met one of your friends on a flight from Danang, in Vietnam.

She gave me her card but her name escapes me. Afrikaans girl from Cape Town.

Told her I got some info from a SA Blogger in HCMC and was like, 'you mean Henno'? Ha, small world hey.

Nikolett said...

Ah, these are some great photos! I'd love to climb a tree ... except I'm afraid of heights. And WOW at the safe sex shop so blatantly saying that it's a safe sex shop! I've definitely never seen anything like that before! Thanks for sharing these pics, that fountain/statue is something special too!

henno said...

Hey Ches man, yeah my friend Losiel said she met someone who was also a blogger from SA at the airport so I figured it had to be you. Seriously small world!

Cheers Nikolett, glad you like the pics. Dig you blog too BTW :)

Annie said...

Interesting photos, indeed.

sarah said...

Henno howzit boet!! Ja those pics are nice! I'm glad you dug them up out of the "random" file and blogged about them. Although I'm surprised at the leafy suburban-ness!

Yeah! I MIGHT be coming. My friend has to decide whether or not she can come. Don't really wanna travel nam alone!! Definitely hit you up for some info!


henno said...

Okay cool, but I don't like that MIGHT part. Seriously though, if you decide to come on your own, Vietnam is one of the safest countries in the world to travel through as a lone female. You might get driven over by the crazy bus driver's or get hit on the head with a baguette by a crazy bread lady but that's as far as it goes. Do know you want to...