Time to replace the Yorkshire Gold

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Summer holidays Rule OK – Flo and Martha, 6th July

Saigon was blustery and cold today. That’s news in itself, given earlier this year the city broke it’s own temperature record by plummeting to depths of 23 C degrees (74 F).

However, enough about the weather. It’s July. The Ashes are on. Murray is still in Wimbledon. And it’s summer holiday time. Rejoice we all must.

My efforts in that department for the next two weeks will be not to fly anywhere and to catch up on all those things I’ve put off doing since they first found themselves populating a New Year’s Resolutions list, six months back. Continue reading

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Pausing for Thought

Saigon is hotting up once more.  Now I appreciate that, for many of you who drop in on saigonsays from time to time, even when Saigon is not “hotting up” there is a good chance that it still might be considerably warmer here than what other parts of the world have put up with for the past half a year.  Simply put, Saigon is always hot, except for the months we are now descending upon, when it slips sweatily into being really hot.

Time then for me to head West, first to Delhi at the weekend, for a week of work just as the country celebrates “Holi”-  the first day of spring (Monday 17th) – during which it is tradition to get splattered with coloured powder.  All of which makes for a pretty picture to stick at the top of a blog post.  Next Monday is also St Patrick’s Day – divinely timed, should Ireland come away with the Six Nations (rugby) trophy two days beforehand.

My ambition for Monday evening in Delhi next week is therefore to avoid too much pink and yellow hair dye during the day, and to successfully find a pint of Guinness in the evening. It’s not every Monday night you get to blend Hindu and Gaelic culture together in such a colourful way. Continue reading

Colonel Sanders in Saigon

Guest Post by Martyn Barmby

Why would you fly 6,000 miles to Vietnam to eat at Kentucky Fried Chicken?  Twice actually: once successfully and once with the bathetic failure of vegetarian falafel.

It’s not that I dislike Vietnamese food; I love it.  Nor is it that I lost patience with my badly wrapped Banh Xeos (“I would not smoke it, never mind eat it” was the withering review of my efforts).  It is not even the repeated faux pas of mixing the wrong sauce with each gorgeous parcel of fish, vegetables and the most fragrant herbs.  It is more about friendship with a dash of nostalgia and maybe a dipping sauce of stubbornness.

Uncle Cake encounters his first Banh Xeo one hour into the weekend

Encountering my first Banh Xeo one hour after arriving in Saigon

After what might technically count as a long weekend in Saigon I got a second taste of what our dear friends love about the place.  Although crossing the road in itself is as fun as going on your average roller coaster, Tim Bishop tours laid on a number of special experiences. Continue reading