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Old 09-15-05, 11:15 AM   #1
baozebub
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I love Vietnam!

Hi everyone,

I used to ride, but got a job in a cubicle and stopped. Now I've got a new bike, and am looking forward to thrashing it up on some good trails.

As for the title of this post, I want to invite you all to my beautiful native country of Vietnam! I have never biked there, but maybe next summer, I will take a month off and ride the length of it. I hope to see you there!

Bao?
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Old 09-15-05, 07:08 PM   #2
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I haven't biked Vietnam, but I've travelled there a few times. It's a beautiful country, and the coffee is wonderful!

Most likely, I won't be around for next summer, but enjoy your trip anyway!

Koffee
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Old 09-15-05, 08:28 PM   #3
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I have a niece who taught English for 6 months in VietNam, last year. She liked your country but missed her American friends too much.
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Old 09-16-05, 02:13 PM   #4
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I spent a month touring the country about 4 years ago.

Fantastic and beautiful place and I loved every minute of it (except, perhaps, for the humidity in the Mekong and the guy that stole my 500 d. note).

Made me even more ashamed at how much of it we leveled.
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Old 09-16-05, 10:55 PM   #5
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I like biking to vietnamese restaurants - does that count?
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Old 09-18-05, 12:05 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for your replies.

I'm so happy so many bikers have been to VN. This is a worldly crowd, indeed. Even you, bkrownd, who has been to Vietnamese restaurants.

awunder, I love the heat and humidity in the summer the most. It makes a cold Mango shake so much more delicious! I'm sorry for your stolen 500 d.

Bao?
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Old 09-18-05, 02:09 PM   #7
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500 dong? Isn't that like... 50 cents? If so, man.... you really hold a grudge!

Koffee

P.S. Unless they've changed out the currency so you aren't carrying around so much dong. I changed 100 US and got one million dong.
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Old 09-18-05, 02:43 PM   #8
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Hi koffee,

US$100 will get you about 1,55 milion VND. That means that 2 million VND will cost you about US$130. It doesn't take much to be a millionaire in Vietnam.

500 dong is about 3 cents. It's not the amount, really. It's the lost sense of trust and security. That may be priceless.

I'm going to the Santa Monica Mountains right now for a ride. I hope I don't die on the way up.

Bao?
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Old 09-20-05, 08:04 PM   #9
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Thanks for the update. I understand the issue about the missing money, but I always like to put it in perspective... sure, the money was stolen, but why would I seriously cry over 3 cents? If someone needs 3 cents that badly, they must be in a bad way. It's not like someone stole a million dong. That would hurt me. But 500 dong? I'd be slightly perturbed for a minute or so, then I'd be cool.

I was just thinking about Vietnam again. Dang... I miss the food more than anything. You just don't get that taste here.

Koffee
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Old 09-20-05, 09:54 PM   #10
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So you enjoyed our Cafe Chon? :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by koffee brown
I haven't biked Vietnam, but I've travelled there a few times. It's a beautiful country, and the coffee is wonderful!

Most likely, I won't be around for next summer, but enjoy your trip anyway!

Koffee
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Old 09-21-05, 07:31 AM   #11
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Well, every day I would have coffee at whatever place I was eating. But when I left, I just went to the local market and bought a few kilo of coffee beans and brought them home.

Feel free to ship some Cafe Chon to me, though. *hopeful*

Koffee
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Old 09-21-05, 04:19 PM   #12
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Hi Koffee,

I know that 3 cents is not a lot of money. Even to a Vietnamese, it is not a lot of money. But theft of 3 cents is still theft.

I agree with you about the food in Vietnam. Though I live close to Orange County, where good Vietnamese food can be found, it is still not as good. I love waking up early in the morning in Saigon to look for Vietnamese favorites like ban cuon. And I always sit around in the summer heat drinking the coffee slowly as the ice melts away.

Vietnam is paradise for Vietnamese.

Bao?
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Old 09-21-05, 08:22 PM   #13
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If you really want Cafe Chon, I'll see if my brother can bring them back to the 'states when he returns. As long as you know what you're asking for (http://english.vietnamnet.vn/tgl/2004/09/258777/). BTW, I live near you so I can just drop them off somewhere along the Mt. Vernon Trail/Hains Point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by koffee brown
Well, every day I would have coffee at whatever place I was eating. But when I left, I just went to the local market and bought a few kilo of coffee beans and brought them home.

Feel free to ship some Cafe Chon to me, though. *hopeful*

Koffee
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Old 09-22-05, 03:50 PM   #14
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Well, Cafe Chon or Arabica works for me. If he can bring back in about 4 kilo worth, I'd be real grateful!

Thanks!

Koffee
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Old 09-27-05, 09:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koffee brown
500 dong? Isn't that like... 50 cents? If so, man.... you really hold a grudge!

Koffee

P.S. Unless they've changed out the currency so you aren't carrying around so much dong. I changed 100 US and got one million dong.
Well, it was probably more than that - I don't recall offhand. It was first thing in the morning, and I needed to get a pack of cigarettes (Dunhills - $.75 huray!!) and it was my last note. One way or another, it wasn't a lot of money (maybe it was $50,000 dong) and undoubtedly he needed it more than I did. But it just came at a really bad time. The nearest cash machine that I knew of was quite a ways away, and I hadn't had coffee yet... a really bad time.

Funny story though - I went to a cash machine for the first time in Saigon and it was in a monsoon. I couldn't find the thing, so I went to the fanciest hotel in Saigon (which is really fancy) and there are all these chinese and japanese tourists in tuxedos, and me, in shorts, hiking boots and a rain parka soaked to the gills, squishing accross the marble floor trying to find someone who spoke enough english to tell me how to get to the bank.

So I finally find the bank, and drop in my card and it hits me with THE QUESTION:
DO YOU WANT TO WITHDRAW MONEY IN AMMOUNTS OF 1,000,000 DONG?
And at that moment, all ability to do long division in my head failed. And I thought "I don't know" At the time, the exchange rate was 14,000 dong and change to the dollar, so it was easy, round up to 15,000 and drop a bunch of zeros, but I couldn't do it! And there are people on line behind me getting impatient.

So, you only live once! I said "Sure" and took out a million dong!

It was only on the trip back to the Bon Sen (hotel where I was staying. A+ if you ever go) when I remembered: The bar tab from the night before! That was over a million dong, which was about... wait for it... $75.00.

Only time in my life I could say I was a millionaire, and it felt good.
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Old 09-27-05, 09:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baozebub

Vietnam is paradise for Vietnamese.

Bao?
While I was there, Vietnam was paradise for me!

I really look forword to going back someday. And I've been around. One of the best "vacations" I've ever had. I'm always trying to get others to latch onto a tour.
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Old 09-27-05, 10:01 PM   #17
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The beaches of Vietnam are absolutely wonderful. You could get on one of those boats for super cheap and do the buffet, then get in one of those big inflatable tires and lay in the water and smoke your bong and just totally veg. Vietnam was one of my funnest vacation spots ever. I think I went about 4 times. I would love to get back there.

Koffee
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Old 09-27-05, 10:51 PM   #18
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Oh man, I want to go so bad. I was born there, but was 3 when we left in '75 -- yes, a warbaby. I'll join you Bao, some day.
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Old 09-27-05, 11:57 PM   #19
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I just left cambodia (as in 2 hours ago, I'm now in Singapore on my way back to the states), but will be doing a bike trip to cambodia, lao and vietnam next aug/sept, before the CMWC in Australia next year.
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Old 09-28-05, 01:21 AM   #20
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Bao, you mean the buns? I love bao. I've probably eaten vietnamese food every weeks since I had enough teeth to chew. Uhhh, where have you been riding?
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Old 09-28-05, 02:27 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koffee brown
The beaches of Vietnam are absolutely wonderful. You could get on one of those boats for super cheap and do the buffet, then get in one of those big inflatable tires and lay in the water and smoke your bong and just totally veg. Vietnam was one of my funnest vacation spots ever. I think I went about 4 times. I would love to get back there.

Koffee
Ok, is bong the same thing in English??? If so, what were you smoking in it? Just curious.
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Old 09-28-05, 02:58 PM   #22
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I was born in Vietnam and lived there for less than a year. Our family came to America when I was 9 months old.

I've always wanted to go and visit and see the culture and experience the lifestyle that my parents were in.

Let me ask this question.....What am I? Am I Chinese, Vietnamese or American?

My grandparents, all 4 of them are Chinese and were born in China, they escaped from China during WWI. They were teenagers at the time. They fled to Vietnam. Both my parents were born in Vietnam.

After losing the war, my parents decided not to raise me in a communist country, so they decided to come to the land of the free! I am a citizen of the U.S.

Given my family history, what am I?
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Old 09-29-05, 03:49 PM   #23
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There's nothing I appreciate more than interesting people. You bikers definitely fit the bill.

I'm glad those of you who have been to Vietnam love it there. I wish you many more relaxing trips.

Redhead, can you picture koffee floating in an inflatable tire in the Vietnamese waters smoking...

Those of you who have not been to Vietnam should plan a trip as soon as possible. Things are changing so much that you just might miss the little simplicity and freedom that there is left. Make sure you go in the hot and humid summertime, when the energy is highest.

duckliondog, I took the day off from work to do some errands and take a short ride up Mandeville Canyon, but the 100 degree heat and the fires kept me indoors with my AC on full blast.

Cadd, the cliche-ish answer would be "you are who you perceive to be." But I don't believe that as much as "you are who others perceive you to be."

Only after visiting Vietnam for the first time did I realize that I've spent my life in America as a caged animal. In Vietnam, I finally learned that those who are truly free will never say they are free. Once you taste a bit of freedom, you become hungry for more.

My cubicle is my prison, and my paycheck is my three meals a day. Today I unplugged myself from the grid, but I still had to call my boss and tell him I wasn't coming in.

sunninho, see you in Vietnam soon!

Bao?
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Old 09-29-05, 04:40 PM   #24
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Vietnam certainly does have a sense of freedom, but we all still know that Communism has it's limits when it comes to freedom...

Still, I highly enjoyed Vietnam. You know those boat tours I'm talking about, don't you? There was one boat I did... Mama "something". I can't remember that little old lady's name.

Koffee
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Old 09-30-05, 10:51 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koffee brown
Vietnam certainly does have a sense of freedom, but we all still know that Communism has it's limits when it comes to freedom...
Okay, fulfilling my roll as resident screaming lefty:

Please be careful about confusing/equating Communism/communism and totalitarianism/fascism/etc. They are not at all the same thing.

The type of communism (if one can even call it that - a source of contension among Maxist everywhere) practiced in the former Soviet Union, that found in China, Vietnam, Cuba, etc is not the same thing. They are individually different and all different from what Marx envisioned.

Personally, having studied the country extensivly, I have great hopes that the "communist model" of Vietnam (and perhaps China) could continue to evolve away from the totalitarian model and towards something new - and dare I say it?... perhaps even exciting!

I know that for a person raised in America in the period from 1945 - 2000, it's virtually impossible to avoid this mistake, so it's not really your fault.
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