Saturday, May 31, 2008

Blue Ocean Shower

The bungalow rooms at this Mui Ne resort have very cool private outdoor

The resort is called Bienxanh or Blue Ocean. It's on Mui Ne beach in Vietnam.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Triathlon Time

Heading to Mui Ne today for the Le Fuit Triathlon on Sunday. Should be fun! If we're really lucky there will be wind in the afternoons so I can get some kite surfing in.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Priority List from SGN

My fellow travelers. Your privacy is an illusion.

United Priority Baggage

At SGN they put up a list of passengers whose baggage receive special
handling. It's nice to have your own luggage area but I'm not sure
about the privacy issues.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Swiss Homeland

On my flight from Hong Kong to Saigon last night I sat next to a nice gentleman from Switzerland. We got to speaking about Switzerland, which happens to be from where my ancestors came and the reason I learned to speak French.

Just for fun I looked up the town where my Great Grandfather's family lived. I visited the town back in the 80s. The farmhouse is still there and the graveyard is filled with Beguelins.

Here's the map of the town of Courtelary:

View Larger Map

Back in Saigon

Made it back to Saigon. Had a great time in New York and San Francisco. Was lucky enough not to wreck a car on this trip back, bringing my average below 50%. I hope I can get car insurance when we move back to the US.

Highlights from this trip:

Got up a few times
Learned that Sergey Brin is a pretty good at kiting
Got a nice new wetsuit
Met a lot of interesting folks (and more in June/July I hope)
  • Almost got the solar panel installation sorted with Solar City
  • Lots of killer workouts at the PAC
  • Researched getting my Instrument Flight Rating
  • Hung out with Omar and learned about his new startup
Today it's time to get a massage and try not to go to sleep until it gets dark!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

NYC View

From our apartment on Times Square.

Hell's Kitchen Flea Market

Kinda scary.

California Nice

Lovely day here in NorCal. Our new landscaping is growing in well.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Yahoo Messenger Phone Out to Vietnam

Looks like you can now call Vietnam for $0.099 per minute using the Phone Out feature of Yahoo Messenger! This is much cheaper than Skype at $0.36 per minute. I guess Yahoo! is serious about Vietnam.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

New York City

It took me just over 24 hours but I made it to NYC last night. I was able to use my United system wide upgrade all the way from SGN->HKG->SFO->JFK, now that's getting your value out of an upgrade! The old lady sitting next to me on the SFO to JFK commented on the fact that I slept almost the entire way. I think she was a bit disappointed when I didn't converse with her during the flight.

One thing I love about traveling out of Saigon is the fact that I can get from shower to gate in an hour. I got up at 5am, took a shower, grabbed a cab and was at the gate by 6am. When I checked in at SGN I asked about my upgrade status from SFO to JFK. The United rep told me that I was on the list but not confirmed. He then said, "It's just San Francisco to New York, how long is the flight?" He was surprised to find out that it's over five hours, about twice as long as the flight from Saigon to Hong Kong. Yeah, it's a big country.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gratuitous Use of Office Documents

Folks here seem to love to send around Microsoft Office documents. If you're sending a document that is not meant to be edited by the receiver, why not just send it as a PDF? Word and Excel are not great for reading documents!

Back in the USA many people won't actually have Word or Excel installed on their computers, so sending a newsletter out in Word format just doesn't make sense. MS Office software costs a lot of money, so it's often something that is just never installed on home computers. In Vietnam you can get these programs for a dollar or two on the street, so perhaps this is why everyone assumes you'll have it on your home computer.

Reasons not to send Office Documents:

  • Not everyone has MS Office installed
  • Reading MS Office documents is no fun (PDF is so much better)
  • Office documents carry viruses
  • Office is slow and a memory hog
If you like to create your letters and other docs, try saving them in PDF format before sending them out. On a Mac you can simply print to a PDF. I'm sure there is a simple way to do something similar on a PC. Another alternative is to use Google Docs. Nothing to install, but network access is required.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Running HCMC

For some reason I keep waking up before 5am these days. This morning I decided to go for a run. Saigon is pretty quiet on Sunday mornings so I threw on the running shoes and took off. I decided to head south on Pasteur from Le Loi. I've never been down that direction before.

Looking at the map now, it seems I ran into District 4. It was around 6am and the city was just waking up. I did run into a street market that was just getting underway. It was around the Cho Xom Chieu. I also got to check out the Ho Chi Minh Museum which is just along the banks of the Saigon River.

The temperature at this time of day is great. I might have to make this a regular activity.

You can see my somewhat random walk in the annotated Google Map below.

View Larger Map

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Trapped in an Elevator

We live in a high rise building here in Saigon. Even though our building has backup generators, occasionally the power goes out. I've been stuck in the elevator a couple of times, but never for more than a minute or two. I ran across this video and it stuck a cord. It's called "Guy Trapped in an Elevator for 6 Minutes."

I found it hilarious. Enjoy.