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Faced with a decision, one is advised to consult one’s inner self, for what it feels like, no matter how one has rationalised about it. Sometimes I go along with things my wife chooses, even though they don’t feel right to me. [ more... ]
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Robert Burns wrote of the frailty of ‘The best laid schemes of mice and men,’ but, as well, mice can interfere with the plans of men and women if they are not careful about their cupboards and drawers. [ more... ]
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A middle-aged, European-looking woman slipped and fell in front of my deck chair on the verge of a swimming pool at a so-called five-star Vietnamese hotel – for which I now invent the name ‘Pangloss Riperium’ – shortly before 5 p.m. on Friday, 6 April. I did not know the woman, but in hindsight it could have been Cunégonde, one of the characters, along with the optimistic Pangloss and others, in Candide, the Enlightenment novel by Voltaire. [ more... ]
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If there was ever and end to understanding a strand of Vietnam I came across it about a month ago through the case of an office where a foreign expert was in the habit of going in to do a bit of work. [ more... ]
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The Shrinking Violet Hotel, which is what I will call it, keeps claiming attention. It capped it off a few nights ago, with an advertisement under our open bedroom window by an Englishman who had apparently been staying at the boutique establishment. [ more... ]
I hope all of the readers have enjoyed a happy New Year. Chúc mừng năm mới to you all! This is a great season in Vietnam with warm weather, great food and happy feelings in a great city. At a time when Northern Europe has been well below zero and dark, we have been warm and sun-drenched. [ more... ]
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In the present, badgering story, as far as I recall, the last thing on my plate was a piece of goat cheese. When I looked behind the lapping top of my computer it had gone. It appeared as if someone had literally ‘moved my cheese’, an event famously recalled in the title of the motivational book Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr Spencer Johnson, M. D., in which fuddy-duddies fall victim to change. The therapeutic suggestion is that the customer might think of being more tolerant. [ more... ]
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The room was very small. All chairs and tables had been neatly arranged aside, and 4th- and 5th-grade girls sat on a paved floor, nearly 100 ten- and 11-year-olds with round eyes, greeting me as if I were coming down from the heavens. I decided to talk instead of lecture. [ more... ]
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I looked at my watch under the flickering light of a match I had lit and held with an unsteady hand. Ten thirty meant that I had already been walking for two long hours through the dimly lit streets of Hanoi in 1990, trying to find my way from a guest house on West Lake, to the house of a new friend I had made that day who lived near Hoan Kiem Lake. [ more... ]
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Exhibits range from bead and pod jewellery made by mountain women to letters and diaries left behind in trunks and secret places to vintage posters from the time of the revolutionary transformation of agriculture [ more... ]
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Pasteboard masks have been Hanoi kids’ toys, especially in the occasion of Mid-Autumn celebrations, for ages. But today, just a handful of people ...
In Phan Thiet, bánh hỏi with pig bowels (lòng heo) is synonymous with Phu Long Town, which is the name of the native place of this dish, where it is ...
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