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Vung Tau Saigon Mekong Sapa Ha Long Dalat Hue
   Vung Tau
Our town in southern Vietnam
Ongoing, since September 2006
 
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Here's some updated pix of Vung Tau.

We've been here a year and a half.

This is a view of Front Beach, looking north from the artillery bunker on Small Mountain.

    click on images for a bigger view.
  

The boat taxi brings fishermen back and forth from the shore to the fishing boats.  They row with their feet!

  

The Jesus of Vung Tau.

Our friend Heather Reider took this shot.  She and Kate climbed the steps to visit the statue on Small Mountain.

Those fuzzy things that look like epaulettes on his shoulders are actually people. You can walk up the stairs inside him and stand on his shoulders.

  

View from standing on his shoulder.

The left thumb of Jesus.

  

Staring down into the entrails.

  

On the other side of town is this statue of Mary.  This one is only about... forty feet tall?  In her arms, the baby Jesus is already preaching to the masses.

  

Further up the road, this statue of Buddha.

  

When Suanna was here in January 2008, Sarah took her to the local market.

This is our recent favorite fruit seller.

  

On the right, you can see the green custard apples.  They're not exactly apples.  Also, they taste weird.

  

The red fruit by Sarah's right hand is called kam.  It grows on our neighbors's fruit trees.  When the fruit ripens, there's too much to eat, so sometimes they give us a few.

  

Vegetables, too.

It seems quaint or exotic to shop the markets, the first and perhaps second and third times.

  

But eventually, one starts to pine for a regular grocery store where the stock is predictable, haggling and suspicion are not necessary, and one doesn't (usually) have to step through pig's blood.

  

Our two motorbikes.

The orange one is a Chinese brand.  It cost $175.

The black one is a genuine Honda SuperCub 50.  Vintage, baby.  Set us back $280.

  

The Cub has a max speed of about 35mph

Most of the time, it doesn't go above 25.

  

Shops on Television Street.

  

No idea what this building is for, but it sports the old-school colonial architecture.  Since it doesn't seem to be much in use, I suspect it's government.

  

Vung Tau makes you pensive.

  

Suanna-cam!

For a full account of Suanna's photographic habits in Southeast Asia, check here.

  

I think she was taking a picture of this mammoth (18 feet high) Christmas tree MADE ENTIRELY OF HEINEKEN.

It's true.  Check the photo enlargement.  They're all Heineken bottles.

Sometimes Vung Tau just has Too Much Awesome.

  

When you get a foot massage, you can refer to this chart to see what benefit the current pique of excruciating pain serves.

  

This is Pho Minh Tam, our favorite pho restaurant.

Pho is noodle soup, usually beef, though sometimes chicken, rarely pork.

Pho rhymes with duh.

  

In the glass case, you can see the bowl of raw meat.

Once a bowl of soup is ladled from the giant pot, the last thing to happen is that they toss in some thin slices of raw beef, which cooks in the boiling broth.

  

Here is the giant pot.

This is also a good shot of the two-piece modern pajama-type outfit that is very common for women to wear.  I think it's more common among poor people.

  

Bia Tuoi means "fresh beer."

Vietnam has suffered really high inflation of late, and the price of beer at bia tuoi has gone up to 18 cents a glass.

  

Sarah would not play our game of Let's Make Drunk Faces.

  

The Dogs

Our local Saturday night tradition is to start drinking at Bia Tuoi, and then head to the dog track to excercise extremely poor judgment.

End result: a fun night for about $7 per person.

  

They parade a few of the older dogs for people to pet.

  

This is the pesky rabbit that the dogs chase.

  

I show Nate the ins and outs of the betting system.

Considering that most people bet less than a dollar a race, the system is extremely complex, up-to-the-minute, surfeit with statistics.

  

Nate places his first bet for... TEN THOUSAND DONG.

That's 63 cents American.

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