From: Shaun Tipson
Subject: Good Morning Vietnam
Sent: 11/02/2003 01:42:34 AM

Well, for those of you that know me, rest assured we're talking brunch rather then morning (and the nice thing about Vietnam is that there are bakeries everywhere. I'm in baguette heaven, although stalking a decent danish is a bit of a problem).

Many thanks for all of the emails, but do to my apathy (and the mind-blowingly exciting manner in which i'm filling my days) a personal reply will have to wait. So yes, the group email rears its ugly head again.

For the short-attention-spanned, one small vietnam anecdote: today i got involved with the locals in a fun game i like to call "pass the dodgy dong".

It's kinda like musical chairs, except with the local variety of currency, and it involves trying to give as change (well, the bank plays to, so they start the chain) the most tattered, torn, and generally dishevelled excuse for money that you have ever seen. If the poor schmo you are giving the stuff to accepts, you win. If they ask for something that doesn't look like an "American War" (the local name) antique, you lose. The height of good play is to respond to the offer of payment with one dodgey dong by giving change with an even dodgier specimen. Somewhere, i have a feeling, there are the poor players of the game frantically trying to get people below them in the dong food chain to accept smaller and smaller fragments of what was currency before Ho Chi Minh had a beard. (For the record, i lost at the bank and at lunch, but won at the ice cream place. I think it was a draw at the markets)

Ok, that's the anecdote part over. In general I am well, Cambodia was fantastic but brief, and Thailand was...well...that's not a short description, but their contempt for farangs (foreigners, pronounced in much the same way and with the same venom that Dubya pronounces "Saddam") is easily discernible and not particularly attractive (for experts, feel free to disagree with me).

I head to the Mekong Delta and then north tomorrow, where i expect even dodgier dong awaits me. The coffee is keeping me going at the moment, so hopefully the caffeine high will last another two weeks. Oh, and before i forget, any DVD or CD requests can be made to me (within reason). The going rate is about $1 per CD and $2 (or a bit more) per DVD. So, for the girls, that copy of Bridget Jones' Diary is now within reach (and for the boys, the irony of owning a copy of Rambo or Platoon purchased in Vietnam is hard to pass up). Let me know.

For those that skipped straight to this line, no worries, it's just travel stuff above. I hope everyone is well, and i'll be back to show off my tan soon,

Shaun


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