Abracadabra Petronas - Malay Style

With only a few days left before heading to the land of Oz, I decided that 3 weeks in Vietnam were enough (for now, because what is really 'enough'?). Malaysia is where I was headed; I'd only been to Kota Kinabalu on separate amazing trip that may never get a post, but who knows, so I wanted to check out Kuala Lumpur for exactly one day and then meet my friend J who was island hopping off the west coast of Malaysia.

Saigon and an M60

For all you anti-gunophobes, just stop reading. Additionally, my time in Saigon involved the touchy subject of the war between Vietnam and America, and while I will not to get politically involved, I did go to the Cu Chi tunnels and a few museums on what the Vietnamese regard as the 'American War.' And I did shoot a big boy gun at the shooting range. I will say that it was pretty cool. Ironically, it is the only place in Vietnam that guns are legal. Policeman are rarely, if ever, allowed to carry a gun. If they do carry one, the gun is almost always empty of any ammo. It is not hard to see why the country has made guns illegal.

Left, right, center, or upside down, whatever your view is, the photos in the war museums are simply disturbing. To be frank, the whole concept of war is disturbing. I did take a limited number photos inside the museum, but aside from taking photos of photos not being my thing, I was too horrified of the scenes to capture them in my memory. Certainly posting what I did take would not be my thing, so if you're truly interested, you can ping me directly, Google them, or go to Vietnam and check them out yourself. Though the museum represents one side of the story, a dose of another person's reality never hurt anyone.

As for Saigon, while not up to western standards, the city is certainly developed and bustling. Scooters and bikes start tooting around 5:30am and don't stop until at least 1am. Hanoi and Saigon are truly cities that don't sleep. Seriously, they kick NYC in the butt. In fact, the place that I called 'home' while in Saigon was situated right across the street from a quaint little park. Quaint...until you realize that the techno pop music being played outside at 4PM starts up again at 6AM. YIKES! Also, even in Saigon, there is very limited western influence in the cities in terms of chain stores, supermarkets, and general goods.

Vietnam also boasts the largest number of scooters per capita. Bzzzzz. Bzzzz. Bzzz. Toot-toot-toot-toot. Tooting is not used to alert a fellow driver that he's done something dumb. Nor is tooting used to thank someone for letting you pass. No. Tooting is constant. Tooting means "I'm driving. I'm coming. I'm on the road. I'm not stopping for an intersection or a bus. I'm not stopping for a pedestrian. I'm still driving. If I stop, it will not be due the brake system on my scooter." After being in Asia for just a couple of months, I forget how tooting is used in the real world.

No, I haven't driven a scooter yet. It's not on my list.

Industrial Kitchen

Welcoming Area 3

Iv and Her Bicycle: Biking in Hoi An

There are several stops that travelers frequent within Vietnam; one of them is Hoi An, the Vietnamese capital of all things tailor-made. In addition to shopping, the city boasts a European feel nonexistent elsewhere in Vietnam. It is entirely up to you to view this as a good or bad thing, but I quite enjoyed the contrast of Hoi An to every other major visiting area in the country. Still no significant western influence in terms of businesses and chains (my view: great thing), the riverfront promenade is dotted with Asian lanterns in a European style.

SabbaticaLIST - 30 before 30

Gah! So I have plenty of experiences that need writing but I was so inspired by this British gal whom I met that I had to post this topic first. Oh, and gal? Girl? Lady? Woman? She was about my age but I always have a hard time deciding what to call females. Males are always referred to as guys. Or children. Moving on, I have always been a goal-oriented and a to-do list person but I have never combined both writing lists and long term goals or jotted down things on a bucket list. For some reason it seemed silly, stupid even. I like to let things in my personal life work out organically rather than forcing them, which is what I did/do in my academic/professional life. 

Then I listened to K (the Brit) speak about her career, business development, and decisions until now and I resonated with them. We'd had careers, achieved everything growing up has taught us to achieve as adults, but now what? The economy has gone into the toilet, our careers have plateaued, and superiors at work keep pay and employment rate low to fatten up profit margins while telling us that we are lucky to have jobs. Lucky? Whoops, before I get too fired up on that topic, I'll save it for a potential future post. 

K mentioned that a part of her 'Now what?' was a 30 before 30 list. For some reason this immediately clicked. Now I have my own 30 before 30, sort of. I came up with 24 on a whim. I tried to make them specific, but I know I'll end up editing them, not to mention filling in the blank spots.

Some are silly. Others are not. Most of all, the list is realistic, as noted by the use of 'attempt' on several occasions. Help me shape the existing ones and fill in my blanks! Without further adieu, 30 before 30:

1. Become conversational in Spanish

2. Get diving certified

3. Hike a volcano (preferably active) Active, check!

4. Maintain physique (!)

5. Snowboard in fluffy snow

6. Build something

7. Get comfortable with puff/pie/bread/pastry techniques

8. Attempt hand-eye coordinated sports (I'm active, but catching has never been my forte)

9. Fly a kite

10. See the best remains of the Greek and/or Roman Empire Acropolis and the Temple of Hephaestus

11. Attempt surfing --Taghazout, Morocco!!

12. Gallop on a horse

13. Try paddleboarding --> I was told to replace this one. Any ideas?

14. Travel to a country whose name ends in '-an' (Japan!)

15. See Aurora Borealis

16. Go to sub-Sahara Africa, not SA/See the Great Migration

17. Drive Fairy Tale road in Germany

18. Foz de Iguacu ($%#!... still annoyed)

19. Feed/play with an elephant

20. Temper chocolate

21. Find my perfect red lipstick

22. Learn how to whistle (Momski & Mum JE are amazing at this)

23. Drive a manual car

24. Dabble in authentic Thai cooking

25. See wild roses

26. Photobomb. I'm not sure I succeeded.

27.  Swim x meters.

28.  Find the best burger in 'Muricaaa

29.             ?

30.                ?

There's that. Suggestions welcome, and sometimes the simplest are the best--skipping rocks! Would also be interested in your goals or "I've always wanted to .... "

Now here's a lovely eye candy photo for clicking on the blog post: