Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Nothing very large happened yesterday, so here's some smaller, previously homeless, thoughts accrued recently: first, the home-cooked meal we have every Tuesday was noticeably scaled back for just the two of us after those impressive banquets we asked Ms. Hương to design while Sunshine's mother was visiting. Last night she made shrimp dumplings and black bean soup that were mighty excellent. There were no leftovers of these things today. Second, at the Hồ Chí Minh City Book Fare, there were a lot of surgical epidermal cosmetology textbooks, and the spinner rack-full of Oxford University Press Classics Library all came packaged with an audio CD of the text. This strikes me as an incredibly potent language learning tool, and started me thinking about the mystifying lack of advanced language instruction available at home. It's difficult to find Spanish language materials for even intermediate-level study there; and that's in the US, where a significant population actually speaks Spanish. Just forget learning Urdu. Learning English in Vietnam might not be easier, but it's far more supported with good illustrated dictionaries, advanced-level texts, and plenty of engineering and technical manuals readily available. Third, since our lounge was closed at three yesterday afternoon, evidently for a balloon party, I headed to the nearest youth coffee shop, the MGM Studio Café. It's another of the places I've begun thinking of as "coffee discos" in light of their spacey seventies uniforms, throngs of trendy tweeners, and blasting pop. Today's music consisted of a lot of Jewel-style mid-nineties grrl-poet tunes remixed for a house party. Don't cringe; this beats the pants off the Filipino Country Roads on down the street at Windows Café, More than Words at my dearly beloved Le’s, or the Christmas Muzak still being bewilderingly piped into my apartment building's own balloon-filled lounge. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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