Relax

You’ve been working – or worrying – hard all week. You’re stressed. Take a minute to try to relax this weekend. No matter where you are.

On The Road: Mekong Postcard

My monthly column is live on 3 Quarks Daily. Read it here.

More Silly Menus

It’s so easy to poke gentle fun at menu translations it’s almost unfair, but it’s meant with good humor. So this, as we leave Asia:

I suggest skepticism of the approximate beef roll.

I know, you’re torn between the porcupine and the weasel. Same here.

Is chicken iap erosion due to climate change?

The deer may be fine but that damned vain hot pot, always going on about how great it is….

Mostly Daily Photos

A couple more as we begin to finish off our Vietnam visit. Here, one of those tumultuous tropical thunderstorms Ho Chi Minh City was eager for, as the hottest part of the year begins to draw to a close:

And here, lovely Dalat, Lam Dong province, just before dusk:

Collected photos from these few months around the world here.

A long flight across Asia follows, and before long we’ll be back in touch from Finland. For the moment (spring 2019) I’ve changed the header above to a nice view over Helsinki from the top of the original Sokos hotel.

Photo A Day

Dalat, Vietnam.

Collected photos here.

Photo A Day

Posing women, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Collected photos here.

Dalat, Vietnam

French colonizers used Dalat, at an elevation around 1500 meters, to escape from the heat and humidity of Saigon and the Mekong Delta area. It’s just lovely here.

Collected photos here.

Ho Chi Minh City Builds Straight Up

The most notable part of the HCMC waterfront the first time we visited was the Saigon Floating Hotel, towed up from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to accommodate an influx of foreign investors. In the first part of the 1990s, after a really tough economic period in the 80s, it was time for Vietnam to attract some foreign money, and investors needed a place to stay.

Interesting in retrospect, at the same time, investment firms were hanging their shingles on the doors of venerable old former Communist hotel rooms in the bigger eastern European cities, there being a dearth of international-standard places to stay in both regions.

The floating hotel was built in Singapore, lived in Queensland before HCMC, and was billed as the world’s first floating hotel in this feature from Australian TV:

Regulatory issues” closed down the floating hotel’s stay in HCMC and it moved on to North Korea. Time moved on, too, and by 2010 the Bitexco Tower opened a few blocks off the river, with 68 floors and just what any up and coming city needed, a helipad, shown here, center (the one with the helipad).

Now comes the Landmark 81 Tower, a brand new mixed use tower with associated high rises, comprising offices, a hotel, condos, a shopping mall, as of yesterday an empty ice-skating rink:

Week before last, on 28 April, they grand opened the 79th-81st floor observation deck. We went up for a look yesterday. Here is the view from the top:

At 461.15 meters tall and 81 stories tall, it’s currently the tallest completed building in Southeast Asia and 14th tallest in the world. Here is a pretty fawning history.

These (mostly) daily photos from a slow trip around the world are collecting on Earthphotos.com. See the archive page Around the World, Slowly.

Photo a Day, Mostly

Not expecting much? Get yerself a Fizzler.

These (mostly) daily photos from a slow trip around the world are collecting on Earthphotos.com. This one from Cholon, Saigon, Vietnam. See the archive page Around the World, Slowly.

Reunification Day

Big, festive holiday in this country today, marking the fall of the Saigon government.

AP Photo

North Vietnamese tanks rolled through the gates of the Presidential Palace on this date in 1975. Here is a calendar page from that day, as displayed in the museum of the Presidential Palace, now the Reunification Palace, here in Ho Chi Minh City.

These (mostly) daily photos from a slow trip around the world are collecting on Earthphotos.com. See the archive page Around the World, Slowly.