Hey Public, it's been a pretty busy week. Highlights:
It's Sunday night and I'm listening to Radio Paradise. It's an excellent free Internet radio station that broadcasts at a bit rate up to 192. The music is very chill and cool, the kind of stuff you put on and close your eyes to listen to, or you put on for relaxed background music while you cook dinner (not that I cook) or drink tea (not that I drink tea). Check out the playlist here. Special thanks to Marky Mark Pendergrast for telling me about this station.
Found a House
I gots me some digs to call my own now in the City formerly (and still, really) known as Saigon. It's on Cach Mang Thang Tam Street, which means "August Revolution" and refers to the date in 1945 when Ho Chi Minh declared the independence of Viet Nam. I can't pronounce the name yet though. I figure I better learn how to pronounce the street name if I'm gonna live there. It's a nice little place with a kitchen, two bathrooms, a living/dining room combo and an extra bedroom. I have to register with the local government and get permission to live there. Although that's routine and everyone has to do that, it's a reminder that I'm not in Kansas any more. Back Stateside you can move anywhere, anytime and no one can say "boo" about it. Makes you think, dunnit?
I'm gonna be a car magnate
I had an idea about importing used cars from the USA to Viet Nam. The tax laws recently changed here, making it easier to import autos. There's still some uncertainty, but that should be cleared up in a month or two. I've established a relationship with an attorney here and also bounced the idea off a Vietnamese friend of mine who offered to put me in touch with a few people on the retail side here. Who knows, the idea may go nowhere. But it's certainly worth some investigation. I'm really interested because I just wanna sit in a trailer and chomp on cigars.
By the way, it looks like I'm headed down to the Mekong Delta for a short visit in a few days. There's a marketing exposition on agricultural and handcraft products from the Mekong. Gonna check it out. Maybe some clever Vietnamese have figured out how to make a flat screen LCD TV from bamboo. Man, I would make a killing!
There's nascent swing culture emerging in Saigon. A Canadian guy and his French girlfriend are starting twice monthly group lessons. I took swing back in the day and it's like riding a bike. I wowed 'em with the pretzel. It was a ton of fun. Check out the funky website here.
Charvey the Learner, Charvey the Master
I've met a couple Vietnamese, Doan Thuc and Thuong, who are teaching me some tieng viet. They're good peeps. We meet every Sunday for coffee to chat I speak English with them. I get to practice my still rudimentary Vietnamese and they get to ask me stuff like "What's the difference between 'to make' and 'to do'?" There are some subtle differences in Vietnamese sounds that honestly are hard for me even to hear. That is humbling, because I'm accustomed to picking this stuff up pretty fast (hence charvey the learner). But on the other hand, I speak English quite well most days (hence charvey the master). It's a fun tradition.