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July, 2017:

First sunset worth sharing

We are in the rainy season right now in Vietnam, which means that it's cloudy a lot. Today's sunset was the first one that has been worth photographing.

Numbers in Vietnam are confusing. 

They put periods where we put commas, and vice versa. 

I like architecture

Interspersed in the rapidly modernizing city are some older buildings that show traditional architectural styles. On a street near my office is this nice building. The city has been built up around it.

Love the window shutters that open out. I assume to keep out the rain.

What was once probably one house is now (I think) three different shops, selling carpets, noodles, and coffee.

In a city that is growing as rapidly as this, who knows how long these old buildings will last?

You probably won’t see this on a U.S. college campus

Vietnam has a rich history of fighting for its independence. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not. This history is reflected in the the campus of a local university. The architecture is a mixture of French and Asian, with heavy Chinese influence. The campus is “decorated” with military equipment from what they call the “American War.”

Military gear in the foreground, traditional architecture in the distance.

Someone needs a new marketing team

I don’t think that this is an appealing name for a supermarket, do you?

Weasel poop coffee is apparently a thing

I’ve heard of this stuff before, but it never appealed to me. This coffee is supposed to be excellent. But I’ll never know. Apparently, if you feed coffee cherries to a certain type of weasel, it will poop out the seed (which is what we call a coffee “bean”). The procedure is to roast and grind up the pooped-out coffee beans (I’d like to believe that they scrape off the weasel poop first, but I’m making no assumptions).

No thanks.

According to a Wikipedia page, this stuff is 5 time more expensive than un-pooped coffee.

Whatever.

I did a little research, and discovered that Vietnam has many farms where they feed caged weasels coffee cherries, collect the poop, and sell it.

Oh, great.

As you can imagine, there are also some animal welfare concerns. There are accusations about force-feeding weasels. The web page of one company that sells weasel poop coffee (http://www.huongmaicafe.com/blogs/vietnam-weasel-coffee/) seems defensive, almost aggressively defensive. Here’s a quote from the site:

“This is not cruel, this is so so so not cruel, don’t judging 3rd world countries like a savage and uncivilized tribe, or I will have to call you Jon Snow. “

I try to avoid the whole Jon Snow comparison altogether and just not drink the stuff. Today at the grocery store, though, I saw it for sale:

Weasel poop coffee! Get your weasel poop coffee here!

The price of the stuff is nowhere near 5x the price of poopless coffee, which makes me suspect that this is not the real stuff. Or real “shit.” I can say that, right, since that’s what we’re talking about?

You can even get a fancy gift box! Also, I love the Vietnamese flag planted in the middle of the cup of coffee.

There is enough variety of coffee here in Vietnam. I don’t need to try coffee that is made up of ground-up poop. I’ll avoid it, regardless of the exhortation of the weasel-poop website:

“Why don’t you just simply enjoy your cup of Weasel coffee?”

I think I’ll stick to regular coffee. Thanks, but no thanks.

Ho Chi Minh City at night

It’s a modern(izing) city. Taken from a rooftop bar on the 24th floor, overlooking downtown. Hard to believe this was a battlefield 40 years ago.

This is not a sign from my workplace.

A picture on the fence at a construction site in Ho Chi Minh City. The Vietnamese reads: “You will be fired if you fight with each other on the work site.”

Full English breakfast in Vietnam

There’s a tiny restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City called “The Hungry Pig.” If bacon plays an important role in your life, then I can recommend this place to you.

Before

 

After. Tummy so happy.

They don’t die

Just in case you’re nervous about watching a video clip of two pedestrians crossing the street in Ho Chi Minh City, I can assure you that they made it across safely.

But this is what we have to do in order to cross the street. It’s nerve-wracking at first, then you get used to it.