Archive for December, 2006

How do vehicles talk?

By honking, of course! And where are they the most splendid conversationalists? I’d have to say, the Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Please note that I have not limited this to conversations among cars only, we’re talking motor bikes, bicycles, cyclos, busses, any kind of transportation you can think of, plus one or two more you never knew existed. Without looking out of our cute hotel room window, I would venture to guess that there are about 50 vehicles all crowded on the narrow street outside, having a lively conversation about who is going where and who better get out of the way. All the while, all sorts of vendors, tourists and Hanoians wander slowly and serenly through the sea of vehicles around them.

We are having an amazing time in Vietnam – first 3 days on Halong Bay, yesterday a wonderful bike tour of an ancient city about an hour outside of Hanoi (I have no idea what the name of the city is, though).

Today we’re off to visit Ho Chi Min’s mausoleum and the museum of ethnology, both highly recommended by the Lonely Planet and locals alike. In a few days, we’ll be on our way to Hoi An and Hue.

Image 1: http://www.tropicalisland.de/
Image 2: http://www.pacificvillage.org/villagevoices/


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Taking a break

Alex and I are off to Vietnam!

Enjoy your holiday 🙂

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Photo Hunt: Lines


The most famous landmark in Malaysia, the Petronas Towers, has beautiful lines – the tall spires of the twin towers, the shiny silver patterned lines of each floor, the sleek line of the bridge between the towers, and the Islamic star shpe of the tip – all of which combine together to make an absolutely beautiful skyline.


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At least 400…

Have I mentioned my extensive DVD collection yet? It’s grown quite out of control here in KL, but it wasn’t tiny back in Munich either. I would say that I now have at least 400 DVDs. I’m talking about my own personal DVDs here, the types of movies that Alex would never want to watch – things like Bring it On and Legally Blonde. Happy little “chick flicks” that make Alex run and hide as soon as he sees their shiny pink covers.

All these movies used to be in individual DVD cases, but they started overtaking our living room so I resigned myself to those little binders you see all over the place here. Now I have a collection of about 15 of binders, each one containing about 40 DVDs, which when I did the math, is actually 600 DVDs total. Yikes. And the scary part is, those are just the movies – I’m not even counting the many TV series I have purchased – Seinfeld, Will and Grace, 24, Arrested Development, and The Office. I like to keep those in their fancy little boxes, which at this point, are creating a mini leaning tower of Pisa in the living room.

My point is that I am not collecting these because I love them so much and can’t live without them, it’s more like a little slice of home, an easy way to relax at the end of the day. The best part is that these shows come out so quickly here that we get the DVDs just a few months after the season finishes in the US. In fact, Alex and I just bought season 5 of 24 yesterday and we’re currently enjoying a total veg-out marathon before we leave for Vietnam on Monday. There’s nothing better than watching a whole year of a TV show in a 24 hour extravaganza!

Image 1 from: http://www.cinemanow.com/images/boxart/175/legally_blonde_175.jpg
Image 2 from: http://www.deepdiscountdvd.com/images/covers/coveri/FXD024695.jpg

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I couldn’t resist

Well, folks, I guess it was about time. On this, my first day of our “winter” holiday, I spent several hours re-designing this site. A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to add a few more pages, and I didn’t like the old template’s way of displaying pages. So, back to the drawing board for me. Now I’ve adopted this (very) simple look and added a Malaysian feel, via the new header (which is a picture I took in Kuching). I’m going for minimalist after the overload of my last design. Like Cat over in Seoul, I’ll probably change it again, but I’ll try to wait a while before I do!

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Sometimes I complain about the US government. A lot of the time, especially over the last 7 years or so, I am absolutely horrified by the decisions our “wise leaders” have made. But in the end, I have to say that I am glad I am American. I have the freedom to travel where I want, when I want. I know I can decide to become a lawyer, IT consultant, professor, plumber, wall street banker, or whatever I can imagine; tomorrow, and if I set my mind to it, I can do it. There is nothing stopping me, and no one would question my decision to drastically change my life as long as I had a reason.

The reason for my sudden appreciation for the luck of my birth is twofold:

First of all, I was reading one of my favorite blogs last week, On The Fringe, where I discovered the Global Rich List website (thanks Global Gal!). After inputting my salary, I came out as in the top 0.98% of the worlds richest people. Boy, that really puts things into perspective. I certainly don’t feel like I’m living in the lap of luxury here, and I definitely don’t feel like I’m rolling in the dough. But think of the other 99% of the world…

susan.jpgSecond of all, my wonderful friend, Susan (on the left), whom I have been friends with since she was an exchange student (from Italy) in my high school, was recently lamenting the “soul crushing” nature of her job. She works in an office in Milan and is struggling with the pointless daily tasks she is forced to do. On top of that, her boyfriend lives in Torino and would like to move to Milan to be closer to Susan. He’s been searching in Milan for a job for over a year now. No one will hire him because they can not understand that he would want to move for personal reasons. Susan wrote to me: “in Italy basically you go where your job takes you, you have no power to decide on a different base.”

Here I sit, in Malaysia, after having lived in Italy, Germany, Connecticut, Virginia, and Washington DC; and I’m only 29. And I’m not stopping there. Next week we’re going on vacation to Vietnam and Thailand. Maybe next year we’ll be living in a totally different part of the world. And maybe someday I’ll decide to change careers or go back to school. I don’t expect anyone to stop me from doing these things. I am truly privelaged, all thanks to the passport I hold… Talk about the luck of the draw.

Image from: http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/

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Alex and I often discuss the differences in our accents. He grew up in California and says leg with the same ‘e’ sound as in egg. I grew up in New York and Connecticut and say dawn with a strong w-sound. The rest of my family has very strong New York accents, but I tried to “loose” mine when we moved to CT when I was 8 years old. All the other elementary school kids made fun of me for my accent. I guess I retained more of it than I thought!

What kind of American accent do you have?

What American accent do you have?

Your Result: The Northeast



Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.




The Inland North



The Midland






The South



The West



North Central



What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

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