The never-ending adventures of a travel writer in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

Another Late-night Guest

To a long tradition of hosting bats, snakes, giant spiders and scorpions, mice, rats and other wriggly creepy-crawlies, I can now add this fine chap… and I’d say he ranks right up there with the Malayan pit viper and the half-a-dozen little satanic bat babies that scurried across the floor every time I opened my house door. Imagine turning your lights on to go to the potty late at night (and thank God you did turn your lights on and not just wander in there sight-unseen) and find this gentleman at nearly a foot long—his legs the size of chopsticks and his body as big around as a jumbo hotdog. Even in zoos and museums, specimen jars and photos, I’d never seen one so big (those are jumbo tiles he’s standing on too—not the little ones).

The bites of centipedes are highly toxic and extremely painful, although not normally fatal. Allergies to the venom can exacerbate the reaction.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Yet again yesterday I tried to meet someone in the provincial government in charge of tourism, and was told "thanks we'll call you if we want to meet you." For goodness sake, my website gets more hits than probably all the local government sites combined, and I'm working on my fourth guidebook for Vietnam. You'd think it would occur to someone that it might not hurt to talk to me for a few minutes. All I want is to be included in the information loops so I can help promote local tourism at no cost to the province.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

God Bless the Ones Who Not Only Care But Also Do Something About It

I was delighted to learn today that Tram, owner of Hot Rock in Mui Ne, is changing over all her staff, and now searching the province for suitable homeless young people to train, hire and mentor as employees. It's so wonderful to see someone like that care so much and try to make a difference in young people's lives from the surrounding community.

Likewise, it has been heartening to follow Lizette's effort (GM of the Sailing Club) to try to get some control of the dangerous traffic situation on Nguyen Dinh Chieu, after the senseless death of two street cleaners, killed by a drunk driver from Saigon. Although she's met with some challenges in building community support to address such an obvious and dire need, her efforts should be applauded and I hope she meets with success.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mid Autumn Festival (Trung Thu)

Below are some representative photos from the Mid Autumn Festival last night (Trung Thu). Individual classes would walk behind their own respective lantern floats, each with a Phan Thiet theme (dragon fruits made up to look like dragons, the Phan Thiet tower, sail boats, tropical fish, etc.) and the kids would then each carry their own elaborate little lanterns of fish, dragon fruit, stars, animals and other symbols. Troupes of Dragon and lion dancers walked between many of the classes. It was really cute and a lot of fun to watch.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mid Autumn Festival

Below are a few photos of the preparations for Trung Thu (The Mid Autumn Festival), which will happen Saturday, September 13 in Phan Thiet at the Nguyen Tat Thanh Square. Phan Thiet is nationally recognized as the best place in the country to observe the holiday parades of lantern floats.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Praise for Mr Binh Sahara Adventure

I received this email today. I must say it comes in a long succession of praise that I have heard regarding Mr. Binh's tours.

"Anyone who's thinking of going to Muine I'd really recommend a 'tour' called Mr Binh Sahara Adventures. The guy and his team (depends on numbers) take you to great spots, all sorts of places and tailor the itinary to what you want to get out of it (how long and where to go etc). He was such a nice guy too and our time in Muine was made special because we did a trip with him. I know it can be very hit or miss when you consider an organised tour but as this one was so good thought i'd share it. A link for his website is"