11.11.05

Asia




What’s Asia like? Hard to say but think of Honolulu with more people and more pungent smell. Never been there, well how about New York? Same amount of people, sky scrapers, buses, taxis, tourists, but add moisture, about 10 degrees Centigrade and remove some of the diversity, and you have many of the metropolises in Asia. Really -- the Asians love the tall buildings. Remember the PETRONAS Towers in Malaysia, used to be the tallest building in the world. It’s spectacular but no longer the tallest. Now it’s 101 Taipei (http://www.taiwanfun.com/north/taipei/articles/0311/0311CoverStory.htm). Also a very cool building. Whoops I’m getting off track, most of Asia is cool - real cool. The cities are modern clean, beautiful, and crowded. People in the big cities are out all hours of the night and day. They shop with ferocity not found anywhere else in the world save the ski swap at Park City high school. You can get Mexican food, Starbucks or Kentucky fried chicken, wherever you go. McDonalds needs a door guy to stop overcrowding. Okay so this is the typical metropolis – but then there is Ho Chi Minh. I went for work partially, but mostly to visit a fellow expat in Vietnam. My impression? Want to see what Asia was like 30 years ago? Go to Vietnam. It’s RAW! It the real thing baby, like the old west only with scooters and pointy hats. Okay so it’s way different, but it has the same energy. Everyone is fighting to just to get by, but there is so much opportunity. I can’t really say what political, economic or social forces have slowed to path to modernity for the Vietnamese, but I can say that it has nothing to do with work ethic or resourcefulness. For example: scooters are used as taxis, pick-up trucks, family station wagon. You will see scooters loaded with anything that will tie down, straddle or ride on a moped. Bikes and mopeds out number the cars by a huge margin, so they get the right of way. This is really important because there are really no traffic lights or stop signs. It’s chaos - especially if you want to cross the street. Look for an opening in traffic, then you have to step off the curb which is totally against everything your mother told you. But remember the rule about looking both ways because you will need it. There are no lanes, and sometimes traffic is going both ways in the same lane. It’s like the motorcycle chase in the matrix, only at moped speed. Even if you’re watching the traffic as it comes at you in one direction, you can get blind sided by a rogue moto dodging the head on traffic. Sound scary? Well it is, cause there are hundreds of these mopeds on many of the streets, a real life game of frogger and I’m the frog. Here’s the best part – there are rules! The rule is that if you are not looking then you are not responsible. So when you walk out into traffic you are not supposed to make eye contact with anyone, because then you are expected to get out of the way. It works the same if you are in a car or on a moto. So where’s the logic in this? It’s sort of like playing chicken, someone has to break or Brake.

So if you’re looking for adventure go East young man, far east. I would also recommend getting out to of the city for a trip to Phan Tiet or Dalat. I only had time to visit Phan Tiet, but I will definitely make another trip to visit the mountainous city in the north. Phan Tiet was a great city break once we got there. I don’t want to scare anyone from venturing to the coast, but take a sleeping pill for the 3 hour drive. YIKES! The resort was beautiful and the service was fantastic. I hacked around the picturesque golf course along the sea. Cuban Cigars, tiger beer and helpful caddies make this truly, a decadent outing, without the sticker shock. Hint: take lots of balls, because you do not want to scare up the cobras while poking around OB. Here’s where I plug my friend – Andrew Legge’s resorts, go visit if you can. www.DanaoProperties.com, www.vietnamgolfresorts.com, www.jadora.net.