Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Reading not writing
Ok, It would be better if I wrote my own articles but seen as Messers Elliott-o, Oslo and Witloof enjoyed my last link to Vietnam, I found another one for their reading pleasure. Perhaps a bit long and dull, but hey it's the New York times on Hanoi's art scene - what would you expect?

Spot your own pet-hate clangers and cliches. Personally I just wonder why it is they always end up in Bobby Chinn's (Hanoi c'est surprisingly chic!). Other spots namedropped are the Metropole (old world class oozes from the taps) and quite astonishingly the PARIS EFFING DELI:

I took in the street scene below as I sipped a glass of Beaujolais nouveau, which had just arrived that week, right on time.


Hence the nouveau! Thank heavens for the Oriental express!

Another good one is: “We come to Duc to create contemporary art and to talk about ideas with him,” said one of them, who like the others, had never left the country, though each of them had a Yahoo e-mail address.

Vietnam - c'est online!

Very sadly, the journo saves the best till last when she says: No wonder most tourists try it once (walk across a street), and then spend the rest of their trip either in the back seat of a taxi or in the cramped quarters of a tuk-tuk

Tuk-tuk?

Anyway, I promise not to just slag off articles written by people who were here for three days and write an article myself one of these days, but the post Tet malaise is deep in my bones. And it's so easy being lazy and cynical.

10 comments:

oslo davis said...

I read that article too - it was real 'art=life and life=art' stuff. The feeling I had of her was NYTimes Journo=... Wanker!'

Hercé said...

can't imagine the tripe she might have come up with had she ventured to Saigon....

elliott said...

It's high times someone organised a two-day "Super Express NY Times tour of Hanoi." The basic itinerary would be as follows: DAY 1: Arrive at Noi Bai International Airport. Taxi to Metropole. Eat lunch at Metropole. Stroll around balmy Hoan Kiem Lake. Enjoy an ice-cream at Fanny's. Buy a pack of postcards from a poor neglected child without any family (and promise to write to her on one of them). Taxi to Khai Silk. Buy Silk. Taxi to Gallery Mai. Meet Mai's mum. Taxi to Mai's second gallery. Meet Mai. Buy a $10,000 painting by Bui Xuan Phai. Be told that he died a pauper. Upon leaving, be warned to avoid "kitschy stores aimed at tourists that sell cheaply produced decorative art." Taxi to Bobby Chinn's. Enjoy extravagent dinner in a contemporary European-style atmosphere whilst enjoying the owner's private art collection. Taxi to hotel. Sleep. DAY 2: Wake early. Stroll around balmy Hoan Kiem Lake. Stare in awe at groups of elderly women hitting their thighs with their hands while sitting on park benches. Taxi to HCM Mausoleam. Queue (for the first and last time in Vietnam). Walk past the revered leader in single file, solemnly, eyes downcast (don't stare). Taxi to Temple of Literature. Soak up the traditional atmosphere of 16th-century Vietnam aided by the sound of the metal work shops located nearby. Taxi to Paris Deli. Order extravagent feast for $35. Have an oddly familiar conversation with a waiter who says he has a friend from where you are from. Taxi to Hang Bong St. Cross the road (for the first and last time). Taxi around the Old Quarter. Taxi to Club Opera (across the road from the Metropole). Enjoy sumptuous Thai and Vietnamese cuisine in pleasant al fresco atmosphere whilst taking in the sounds of uplifting contemporary Vina-pop. Taxi to hotel. Get a good night's sleep to ensure you are well rested and able to deal with any misunderstandings that might arise between yourself and your taxi driver en route to the airport the following day.

I can think of a few people who would make great tour guides...

oslo davis said...

A friend of a friend's mum tipped a taxi driver US$30 to drive them to Bac Trung village once. I think they were on the three-day tour.

TuAnh said...

SHE'S JUST EFFING OLD AND BORING. First thing I spotted was, watching TV in the 70's. Old dateless women sucked up to Bob Chim all the time, and blah blah blah. Yes, Elliot-san, there's tons of holiday makers like that. Jesus, I used meet and greet them in the Press Club, and described the tour for them.

Anonymous said...

Confit de canard... Good one.

Michaelkelly said...

I live in Kerry and don't know any of the people nor the places to wich you refer.
And I still liked it.

elliott said...

Damn, forgot to include the Press Club in the schedule! Maybe it can be an optional extra (with additional charge) for those staying over a weekend. Other options might include: taxi ride around Hoan Kiem Lake, taxi ride to ANZ, taxi ride to water puppets, taxi ride to picturesque Lenin Park and taxi ride to local pho shop. Take your pick...

elliott said...

Those on a shoe-string budget can opt for the simple, no-fuss Taxi Ride From & To The Airport option - a steal at just $104 (30-day single entry tourist visa and departure tax included; clients are required to organize and pay for their own flights to and from Vietnam).

elliott said...

THE LAST THING I'LL SAY ON THE SUBJECT - PROMISE: I didn't realise the Paris Deli had changed it's name. The insertion of EFFING (suggestive of the Eiffel Tower) gives the place such refreshing airs...