A few quick links

28Oct08
  1. McCain and that old jail yarn: “They taught you too well Mac Kane, they taught you too well.” This piece on John Mac Kane’s  Vietnam story his stint in jail, his jailers, the opposing perspectives, and much more — is well, well worth a read.
  2. Pear-shaped holiday: The Comical Hat signed up for google updates on ‘Travel Vietnam’ a while back and the other day for the first time The Comical Hat clicked on a few of the blogs. Blogs written by travellers, like. Having little banter with the backpackers at bia hoi corner at this stage in our life on Hanoi campus, The Comical Hat was reminded how the odd person really does have a bad trip.
  3. But then…other people have a great time. Like Paul Theroux, for instance, who says the most memorable meal he has ever had was a bowl of eel soup with an old veteran in Hue (now we just know that he’s trying to go for that oh-so-windswept and interesting look with that answer — jeeze, don’t try so hard Theroux, it’s soooo embarrassing!) and that it’s his second favourite country (fair enough says us). Here’s an extract from his latest book in which he hangs out with a xe om driver who demands to be called Omar — self-named in honour of the world champion of bridge, backgammon and once-upon-a-time-film star Omar Sharif.   
  4. And this just in… A Hanoi company is thinking outside the box and inside a cubicle by trying to lease a local bia hoi toilet near you — and/or any restaurant, cafe that’s up for this lucrative deal . The company, www.baoan.com.vn, is apparently in the computer business, but is hoping to lease out the toilet space for advertising. The bia hoi owners will of course sign the dotted line without blinking as this is pretty much like saying we’ll give your toilet, which has travelled from the depths of hell and has never once been cleaned since the day it first thrust itself upon this innocent and naturally fragrant world, a new lick of paint, some nice wallpaper, pictures, et cetera. Who’d refuse? (Make your own appropriate proverb using these words: Never/look/gift/horse/mouth) How-And-Ever, it seems that the proprietors not the leasers will be in charge of keeping the place clean, so The Comical Hat suggests that it’ll be approximately just over a fortnight and less than a month before the bia hoi-toilets once again reveal their true colours.
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