Archive for March, 2008

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What’s new in Hanoi? (Part 1 of 2)

March 30, 2008

Pizzahut entranceAaah.. the sweet smell of a developing country is now more evident. Foreign investors keep coming in and the best way to take part of it is with the recent opening of PizzaHut in Hanoi.. Yey! One of my all-time faves back in my high school days with the Eat-All-You-Can craze! The wife and I actually had a couple of dates there sharing our bacon cheeseburger pizza and as always, I finish the pizza crust for her, we ordered our usual rootbeer and after that, it was back to conquering the mall! SM North Edsa pa lang ang uso dati eh.. hehe 🙂

PizzaHut has been around for quite some time especially in HCM. Thank goodness they’re not forgetting about our beloved Hanoi city. Kudos to the owners for.. a little plug-in.. “making it great”! I had to try it of course after being deprived of western food that I’m accustomed to eating back in the home country. The place had good ambience, clean and it’s actually the best PizzaHut I’ve seen for quite some time… well these are the things you would expect anyway for a newly opened resto.

Making it Great!

The resto is modernly designed and the waiters can speak some English too just to make sure they get your order right. They serve more than pizza just like in the Philippines and now have different kinds of pasta, appetizers, soups, a bit of seafood and more!

Now what did I order?

Calamari goodness!
Calamari for appetizers..
Sup!
Chicken corn soup to wash away the oily calamari sins..
Yum, Pizza!
Personal Pan Supreme Meatlovers!
Total damage.. 143,000 VND! Damn! Hehe 🙂 This won’t be a regular weekend meal for sure 🙂

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Me and My Nouvo

March 24, 2008

Nouvo

Xe May (ˈmō-tər-ˌbīk). This is now my official transportation here in Vietnam. I used to ride a Xe Om (motorbike taxi) but I just got tired of being a passenger in the mercy of an unknown driver. Not to mention the hassles of negotiating the fare and the inconvenience of finding one during late hours in the office.

I rented this bike in preparation for Tet last February since I anticipated public transport would be scarce. Anh Loc and I went to a place inside the Old Quarters and I got a good deal for a Yamaha Nouvo! It’s fully automatic and I’m used to riding one by being a passenger for 6 months! I was initially going to get a SYM Atilla which was a typical scooter here but the Nouvo was just too good to pass up. Got a good price for it since I’ve rented it for 3 months and it now takes me anywhere within Hanoi 🙂  Have Helmet, will Travel!

I remembered the first time I drove a motorbike and it was a small scooter back in Taiwan. My A-ma (grandma) let me drive it by myself on the streets and I remember her smiling as I drove away. Take note that this was way back in the late 80s or early 90s (couldn’t remember) and I only circled one block and almost threw myself off the bike by hitting the brakes too hard on the intersection. It was scary but exciting. Hyew! That was the last time I rode a two-wheeled motorized vehicle…

..until now! Thanks to some lessons from Anh Loc, I’m officially a biker in the busy, chaotic streets of Vietnam 🙂 Within just two hours of practicing –how to zigzag, accelerate, emergency brakes, turning while leaning, small u-turn.. I graduated with honors..at least I thought so.  Safety is still the top priority — Helmets on, side mirrors aligned, check the brakes and off we go! Some interesting things you can do or see on the streets of Hanoi that I normally wouldn’t be able to without my trusty Xe May..

Books

…Books on the streets

Cows

…Cows on the streets (moo!)

Nan1milk

..I finally found Nan1 HA!

Monument

..National Heroes monument. It’s awesome at night.

kids

..Kids after school.. uuuy.. HHWWPSSP! 🙂

armortec

..getting a new badminton racket.. with free string!

bikes@night

..Teens hanging out at night with their bikes. Yes, they were in front of me during a stoplight in an intersection.

Brangelina in VN

..nuff said.. if Brad and Angelina rides a Nouvo.. that’s the bike for me! 🙂

The only way to get around and experience Vietnam is through a motorbike.. I’m glad I finally got to drive one myself and like I said in my previous posts.. I’ve been converted 🙂

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iPhone, schmiphone!

March 19, 2008

Argh! The wait for the next iPhone is unbearable. I’m missing out all the good stuff but I hope it’s going to be worth it. The trick with buying gadgets is to just do it! If you keep waiting, you won’t ever get to having one.. it’s a vicious cycle! Playing around with Apple’s touchscreen and GUI has always been a winner since the iPods came out. I’m more excited though for being able to view pictures of the family especially my li’l one and once you have a baby, you can never get enough of seeing your mini-me. That’s my main motivation in getting one soon. The iPhone in Vietnam is priced almost similar to Manila with the 16GB costing around $670..ouch! With that amount, I can push the DSLR up the queue 🙂 

I’ve had a chance to play with an iPhone lately and I really like the SMS conversation view.. fantastic concept indeed! Let’s not even mention about Safari.. taking mobile browsing as close as the desktop experience. The touchscreen response is amazing and I can blab about the features the whole day.. convincing many others to buy one before I do 😀

But.. i’ll still hold off for now. Still waiting to see how far portable storage will go and stretching the 16Gb limit. For the next gen iPhone, here’s my wish list and Steve Jobs will soon rule the world 🙂

  •  3G – This is a sure feature for the next iPhone release but i doubt if i’ll even use it.
  • 5 megapixel camera – This will be a monster if Apple changed their existing 2mp. It will now match with the Sony Ericsson K-series and Nokia N95s camera phone. Without any doubt, people won’t have choices left but just to buy an iPhone.
  • 32 Gb capacity – moore, moore, moore’s law 🙂 Will SSD be considered for iPhone’s next upgrade.. only time will tell as the price of SSD drops.
  • Extended battery life – must keep going, and going, and going… It’s a good time to play Rihanna’s “Please don’t stop the music”.. literally!
  • External storage slot for additional capacity – In my dreams! 🙂 Apple would never do that… ruins their strategy you know. Too bad 🙂

Do I smell an early Christmas in June when iPhone 2.0 is released? A few more months to go!

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Pata-Pata-Pata-Pon!

March 4, 2008
Patapon-Main

 Waaaah! The wife can’t play this game yet since the PSP is still bricked as of this writing. Still working on finding someone who can unbrick it for free or if we’re desperate enough, we’ll just pay for it 😦 This was one of my most anticipated games but more for the wife’s liking and I’m sure Anna will have fun with the Patapons! More screenshots and the trailer of this cool PSP platform game:

Patapon-1

Patapon-2

Now say it with me.. Pata-Pata-Pata-Pon!!! 🙂