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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Who Wants a Play Asia Coupon?



I have two Play Asia coupon codes to give away.  They are first come first served.  The first one is for $7 off a $77 purchase and the second is for $15 off a $150 purchase.  Once you have used the code PLEASE post that it is no longer valid.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Random Vietnam Picture

Bánh tráng phơi sương trảng bàng.
Vietnamese style pork served as a roll with dry noodles and vegetables.  What you don't see in the picture is the rice paper to make the roll.  It's off to the left of the picture.  It's tasty, filling and pretty cheap.  Give it a try!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Random Vietnam Picture

A street decorated for Vietnamese Independence Day.
Whoops!  It's been a long time since I've updated.  I'll try to have regular updates like in the past.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Spots: Cu Chi Tunnels

Man squeezing himself into one of the secret tunnel entrances, Cu Chi Tunnels, HCMC.
One thing about living in Ho Chi Minh City is that we are so close to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels.  If I remember correctly it was a short 40-60 minute bus ride from a tourist office near Benh Thanh Market this was including the time needed to get out of the big city.  As you may or may not know the tunnels were used during the Vietnam war to funnel food, supplies, soldiers, weapons and played a big role in the Tet Offensive of 1968 serving as the Viet Cong's base of operations.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Quickie: Humble Indie Bundle V3

Humble Indie Bundle V3
Every couple months or so the kind folks at Humble Bundle put together an awesome collection of indie developed games and sell them DRM free, on Windows, Mac and Linux!  The best part is that you can name your own price all in the name of charity!  Humble Indie Bundle V3 features 5 great titles;

So don't be an Uncle Scrooge.  Fire up your web browser, open up your virtual wallets and click here to bask in indie goodness.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Quickie: Mystique as seen by Yamashita Shunya

Mystique by Yamashita Shunya
X-Men: First Class was a rather successful movie which probably has nothing to do with this new PVC figure being released.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quickie: Saigon Ford

Saigon Ford, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
 In case anyone was wondering if Ford had a presence in Vietnam (of course they do!) here is a picture of Saigon Ford in HCMC, Vietnam.  I regularly see American cars on the roads here.  Mostly Fords and Chevy's.  The manufacturer I see the most is of course Toyota.  Pretty much because all of the taxis are Toyota.  After Toyota (surprisingly?) I see a bunch of BMW's and Audi's.  So far I've come across Honda, Kia, Mazda, Ford, Chrysler, Volkswagen and Nissan dealerships.  Check out another picture after the break.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Quickie: Whooo!! Just hit 1,000 views

Sometime over this past weekend our blog reached its first milestone, we reached 1,000 unique views.  That is great news.  Thanks again to everyone who visited.  To celebrate here are some quick facts:

Most views from Vietnam
Least views from Japan
Most referrals from The Whirlpool Forums
Least referrals from VWVortex Forums
Most popular post How To: Enable 3G on Viettel

Here's to another 1,000 views.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Supermarkets in Vietnam

Maximark Logo
You often hear me talking about shopping at the supermarket.  So I figured it would be interesting if I elaborated a bit more on how supermarkets are in Vietnam.  For the most part they are very much like their western counterparts but they do have their differences.  From the minute you park your motobike to the minute you pay at the cashier there is something different.

Quickie: Catherine demo is now live on XBL and PSN in North America

Catherine for Xbox 360 & Playstation 3
Catherine, "an unprecedented exploration of the pleasures and horrors of love" according to it's publisher Atlus, just released a demo on Xbox Live and PSN (although on XBL you have to be a "gold" member to download).


Catherine seems to be a strange mix of an action-adventure and puzzle game.  Judging from the latest screenshots and trailers I like what I see.  It's too bad I'll have to wait to try out the demo being that I'm not a gold member on XBL.  Atlus set the release date of Catherine for July 26th, 2011.  If you didn't know already Cathrine is also being released in a "Love is Over Deluxe Edition" which includes a Catherine pillow case, "Love is Over t-shirt", Vincent's boxers, Catherine soundtrack CD, and Art Book (if you pre-order).


Catherine "Love is Over Deluxe Edition"
Yes you heard that right, I said Vincent's boxers!  That is one heck of a package. Not only can I think of Catherine as I rest my head on her bosom but I can pretend to be Vincent while wearing his boxers.  Got to hand it to Atlus for bringing us this crazy deluxe edition.

If you are still reading this head on over to your favorite retailer and pre-order Catherine or better yet pre-order it from PlayAsia if you, like me, are a westerner living in Vietnam or Asia (which is probably why you are reading this blog in the first place).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Random Vietnam picture of the week

Circle K in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
You know in the western world it's easy to just stop by a convenience store be it AMPM, 7-11, Circle K or what have you on the way to work or from school.  Here in Vietnam it's just as easy, however instead of big corporate owned businesses you have your small mom and pop store, your sidewalk vendor, or a traveling vendor.  You'll hardly see a big name convenience store here.  So I was pleasantly surprised to find a Circle K hidden within a bunch of office buildings.

Quickie: Some changes to our sponsors

Good 'ol Ben Franklin
Just wanted to thank everyone who visits us and give a BIG THANK YOU to those of you who ever clicked on a banner.  Due to a change in policy at Amazon.com we will no longer be displaying their ads on our blog.  Furthermore, we have also decided against using Google AdSense due to our blog being deemed adult.  So their ads will no longer be displayed.  The good news for our readers is that there will be fewer ads displayed on our blog.

Our current sponsors are still PlayAsia.com (where you can find all kinds of cool Asian goodies) and ibVPN.com (where you can sign up for reliable, fast, and affordable VPN service).  So please continue to patronize those reputable retailers.




Wednesday, June 22, 2011

5 Things I Love and Hate About Living in Vietnam

Our Beloved Hearts by Didier Ruef
So I've been living in Vietnam for quite awhile now and I keep getting the same questions from friends and family. "How is it over there?" "How do you manage?" "What about the food?" "Do you miss Western food?" "What about the culture shock?" and so on and so forth.  Let try to answer those any many other questions by simply stating my reasons why I :heart: Vietnam and why I :hate: Vietnam.  Actually hate is such a strong word.  I think annoying or irritating is more fitting.  So without further adieu...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Spots: Chin Ham

Entrance to prison/tunnel #8, Chin Ham, Hue Vietnam

For this week's edition of Spots we'll be visiting Chin Ham, located 6km southwest of the city of Hue.  Chin Ham, meaning "Nine Tunnels" in English (more like prisons), is a popular tourist destination.  When I visited Chin Ham earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to be among the only person visiting at that time (there was only one other group of two people there) so I had a chance to take plenty of pictures of the actual attractions without any of the other tourists showing up in the pictures.  It was probably due to the heavy rain Hue was getting at the time.  In any case check out all the details and pictures after the break.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Whoops!


Sorry for the lack of updates folks.  I have been swamped with work and my personal life.  I should have (at least I'll try to have) some new content for you this weekend.  I have been thinking of a few new ideas for an article (things I hate and things I love about Vietnam).  Again, I welcome comments and suggestions.  Feel free to leave some at the bottom of this post!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quickie: A VW Golf makes a cameo appearance

VW Golf on Black Lagoon
I was catching up on one of my favorite anime (Black Lagoon, check it out) when all of a sudden what appears to be a MK1 Golf makes a very cool cameo. So I took the liberty of capping it and posted it to YouTube. Hope you guys find it as cool as I did.  Check out the video after the break.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Spots: Truong Tien Bridge

Tourists crossing Truong Tien Bridge, Hue Vietnam
If you have your heart set on coming to Vietnam on vacation then more likely than not you will be passing through the lovely city of Hue.  After all Hue has a lot to offer tourists in the form of sights, food, a more relaxed atmosphere (compared to HCMC), cooler temperatures and of course culture.  For this article I decided to write about the magnificent Truong Tien Bridge built over the Huong River (also known as the Perfume River).  Learn more after the jump.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Random Vietnam picture of the week

Vang Dalat, Vietnamese wine.
This week's random picture topic is wine, Vietnamese wine to be exact!  The wine you see above comes from a popular Vietnamese tourist destination known for it's French architecture, strawberry preserves and lush pine trees.  Of course I'm talking about the city of Dalat.  There is also one other thing this city is known for; its rich red and white wines.  Learn more after the jump.

Quickie: Cool PVC figures releasing in May

1/6 Scale PVC Rachel Alucard by Freeing
This month there are some neat figures being released.  My picks for this month are a 1/6th scale Rachel Alucard from popular fighting game Blaze Blue and a 1/10th scale Dante from hellish beat 'em up Devil May Cry.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I get 70 miles to the gallon on this hog!


As you may know southeast Asia moves thanks to the power of the motorbike.  This is especially true in Vietnam where 90% of the population uses a motorbike as their primary form of transportation.  Everywhere you turn you'll see a motorbike, either parked in front of an establishment, stuck in traffic, being used to transport merchandise you would only imagine fitting in a truck, or simply getting people where they need to go.  Seeing as how I need to move about town, I'm officially a proud owner of a brand new state of the art 2011 model year no-name brand 100cc motorbike.

Random Vietnam picture of the week

"Che bot loc", a Vietnamese dessert.
This week's random picture is a Hue, Vietnam specialty dessert.  What you see above is called che bot loc.  Che bot loc is made from filter cake powder on the outside and peanuts or shredded coconut on the inside.  It is served hot in a broth made from sugar and ginger.  Learn more after the jump!

Friday, April 29, 2011

How To: Enable 3G on Viettel UPDATED 1/31/2012

Viettel's 3G logo. Roughly translated, "the color of life".
If you read our previous post on how to get started with a cellphone in Vietnam then you will no doubt remember our promise to put up a "3G how to".  Enabling 3G on Viettel's network is a fairly easy process involving just a few simple steps and can be done over the course of just a few minutes on popular handsets.  This guide is written with the assumption that you already have a phone with Viettel service.  Get all the details after the jump.

Random Vietnam picture of the week

KFC at a local Vietnamese shopping center.
The fast food train has officially arrived in Vietnam.  Although you won't find big time heavy hitters such as McDonalds or Burger King you will however see plenty of KFC's around Vietnam's many busy streets.  There is literally a KFC every few blocks, in fact there is a KFC just 10 minutes (by foot) from my apartment.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is one of those games I couldn't put down.  Not because of its immersive gameplay or great graphics but because it is downright terrifying.  A:TDD is touted on the internet as the scariest game you'll ever play.  Based on the YouTube reaction videos, such as this one, I just had to see what the hullabaloo was all about.

Quickie: Streets of Rage REMAKE


If you haven't heard BomberGames released their long time coming Streets of Rage fan game to critical praise this month.  SEGA however was not so amused by the release and forced BomberGames to pull the game.  The game was only available for download for a short while.  If you are in a skull bashing mood and want to try SoRR then you are in luck as it is fairly easy to find a copy on the internet.

SoRR is BomberGames take on the classic beat 'em up SoR games for the SEGA Genesis.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Random Vietnam picture of the week

Whoops!  Kinda missed last week... So to make up for it here are two random Vietnam pictures.
   
Graffiti in Vietnam
 I haven't seen much graffiti in Vietnam.  In fact this is the only graffiti I have seen.  This was taken on a side street off of Ho Van Hue street in District 3.  I thought it looked kinda cool so I snapped it up!

DVD store in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
In Vietnam it is almost impossible to find legitimate copies of your favorite movies.  It seems that all DVD's sold in Vietnam are copied, downloaded, or ripped.  I can't help but think that a store like this would get shut down so fast in the States yet here there are literally hundreds of these small DVD stores selling the newest releases.  The quality isn't up to par and sometimes the discs won't work at all but at .50-1.00 USD for a movie it's kind of hard to complain.  To be fair you can buy official copies of movies in Vietnam.  They are not very common however and sell for about $5-$10 USD.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Random Vietnam picture of the week

Tan Son Nhat International Terminal, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (SGN)
Here is an aerial view of Ho Chi Minh City airport (SGN) as seen from the CT Plaza.  SGN is the largest airport in Vietnam.  Flights arrive daily from all over the world.  SGN is conveniently located just 4 miles north of District 1 and can handle 16 million passengers per year.  If you are coming to HCMC from abroad you are arriving at this here airport.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hello, Vietnam... Hello? Can you hear me now?


So you are coming to Vietnam on vacation/business and would like to make local calls but aren't sure how to get started?  Never fear, I'll go ahead and walk you through all the information you need to start calling up your friends, family, or business contacts.  It's actually quite easy.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Random Vietnam picture of the week

Viettel Prepaid Cellphone Card
OK, this week's "random picture" is not so random.  I'm actually going to be posting an article on how to use these bad boys to add credit to your GSM phone with a Viettel SIM card (along with some general mobile/cellphone information for those who are planning to visit Vietnam for more than just sightseeing).  It's a fairly easy process, in fact on the reverse side of the card there are English instructions. But just in case, I'm going to be running down through the process.  Also, in a later article, I'm going to be showing you how to activate 3G service on the Viettel network using your 3G GSM phone.  So stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Unlocked! How to bypass internet filters.


Before moving to Vietnam I knew that I had to take some measures in order to experience the internet in full.  As you may know Vietnam employs a web filter as a means to restrict Vietnamese citizens (and tourists/visitors) from accessing certain websites, namely Facebook.  Also, certain services that I subscribe to are only available to users who's IP address originates from the USA, such as NetFlix, Pandora, and Hulu.  Fortunately for us there are ways of bypassing these restrictions and getting the information and services that we want.  Some easier than others and some are free while others cost a monthly fee.  So if you have to have your Facebook fix while on vacation in a country that censors the internet read on.

Did someone say Bayonetta?


Bayonetta is a stylish, adrenaline pumping, action packed game from game creator Shinji Mikami.  Developed by Platinum Games and published by SEGA it is my favorite game of 2010.  I really enjoyed this game and have nearly 100 hours of playtime.  I wanted to reflect my love of the game in the form of a wearable good, namely a tshirt.  I hit the internet on the hunt for a quality Bayonetta tshirt.  Having only come up with cheap ebay copy and paste crap I decided to make my own. (Unfortunately, SEGA does not sell an official Bayonetta tshirt.  They did make some tshirts as a limited run but they were only available as prizes from SEGA, IIRC).  So off I went and came up with a few different designs, which you can see and buy from here.  Tell me what you think and if so inclined feel free to purchase one.  I originally had the idea of just creating a one off for myself but figured there might be other Bayonetta enthusiasts that would like a tshirt.  And if you haven't played Bayonetta give the demo a try or purchase it from Amazon.com

Bayonetta Tshirts

Random Vietnam picture of the week

Sidewalk vendor cart in HCMC, Vietnam.

This week's random Vietnam picture is a familiar sight if you've ever spent some time in Vietnam.  There are literally hundreds of these vendor carts all across Vietnam's streets.  They sell everything and anything; books, newspapers, clothing, raincoats, drinks, cigarettes, lottery tickets, food, helmets, fruits, shoes, sunglasses, etc etc etc...  This particular vendor sells noodle soup, Cambodian phnom penh noodle soup to be exact.  I'll be honest here I know it doesn't look like the most appetizing place to eat from but I have to say the soup does taste very good and the price is right.  It makes for a good, cheap meal for when you are on the run, in a hurry, late at night, or when you are hung over.  Like the saying goes, sometimes the best way to experience the local cuisine is not from that fancy restaurant but from the sidewalk vendors, outdoor markets, or hole in the wall places.  As you can see in the picture you clearly make out the dish cleaning area and food preparation area.  What you do not see is that the vendor also sets up small tables and chairs so that patrons can enjoy their soup comfortably under the hot Ho Chi Minh City night sky.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Random Vietnam picture of the week

Traffic on a street in Vietnam quickly pulling over.

The traffic on this street in Vietnam just prior to the sudden rainfall was so dense it would make you wonder if the above picture was taken in Vietnam.  It was actually pretty crazy to see.  Traffic so dense you can't move a foot in either direction before hitting someone, then suddenly the rain falls and the street is cleared just as fast as the rain came.  The people are pulling over to put on their raincoats.  Those caught without a raincoat either pulled over and waited until the rain passed or kept on going through the pouring rain.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Testing mobile blogging

BigC Supermarket, HCMC Vietnam
I'm here at BigC waiting to checkout when I decided to check out the Blogger mobile application.  Quick pic...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Now on Justin.tv

I going to start broadcasting some of my gameplay footage on Justin.tv.  So far I'm still working out the kinks although my first broadcast came out better than expected I don't think my laptop or upload speed is up to the task.  At least based on the quality of the video.  Anyways, I'm going to keep working on it and hopefully try to get some Deathsmiles, SSFIV, Pac-Man CE DX as well as a bunch of other game footage uploaded.

My little friend

This past holiday season I decided to take the plunge and indulge myself with a new smart phone.  I had been eying a couple off contract, unsubsidized phones from Amazon.  Now, I've never had a real modern smart phone.  All my previous phones were all dumb phones.  So I wanted my first smart phone to be something cool, cutting edge, with the latest technology basically something I can remember.  Problem was that I didn't really have the funds necessary to spend on the latest and greatest.  Most of the phones I was looking at were between $500-$700 USD.

After doing some research I decided that Android was right for me.  I liked the openness of the platform and the entry level price on the older hardware wasn't too steep.  During my regular SlickDeals.net browsing I came upon a post advertising a phone with Android 2.2 (the latest at the time), GPS, 3G, WI-FI, and bluetooth at a shipped price of $150.  I just had to click.  The phone was Huawei's IDEOS U8150.  It's basically a phone for emerging markets/entry level Android experience.  After reading the post and comments I brushed it off as too small and too slow even though it had everything else I wanted.  After a couple few days I decided to do my own research and so I looked up reviews on the phone.  Basically everywhere I looked the phone was getting praised.  The review's made it clear that while the phone wasn't the fastest or had the biggest screen it did have just about everything else including bare bones Android 2.2 (with no added carrier fluff) for only $150.  Not only that but the phone was co-developed in conjunction with Google directly (according to Huawei).  My interest suddenly grew.  Needless to say, I am proud owner of the IDEOS.  Sure, it can't play the latest/demanding Android games but it hasn't failed me as a smartphone.  It runs everyday applications pretty spiffy, I have plenty of space available thanks to my 8GB SD card and has all the features of those other expensive phones.  Win-win!  So if you are in the market for an affordable Android phone with all the bells and whistles (minus multi-touch) I recommend checking out the Huawei IDEOS.

How do I begin?

How do I begin to start posting on a blog that is about everything that I'm thinking, that happens to me, that I come across, or that I find interesting?  Do I describe my blog? Do I just start posting and hope for the best?  Or do I open up with a great story?  Nah, I think I'll skip all that and just say that this blog will be about everything that I'm thinking, everything that happens to me, stuff that I come across and find interesting.  But mostly about my time in Vietnam.  My travels as an American in Vietnam, the food, the sights, the people.  I'll also be discussing my interests in video games, technology, and automobiles.  So yea stay tuned; I hope you find my dribble interesting enough to warrant a subscription.