Catch “The Mist” at the Saigon Opera House

Last night, we were invited to watch the premiere showing of “The Mist” featuring the performers of Arabesque at the Saigon Opera House.

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I love the Saigon Opera House. It’s like stepping back in time. The French colonial architecture is well-preserved.

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Directed by AO Show Saigon‘s Nguyen Nhat Ly and Nguyen Nat Loc, The Mist is a contemporary dance performance depicting the life of farmers as they go about their daily tasks in the early morning mist. Unlike the AO Show Saigon though, The Mist caters to a more mature audience.

 photo 20140915_191813_zps81c03750.jpgTo set the tone, the entrance of the opera house was adorned with native products covered in rice husks. And once you enter the main auditorium, you would hear the sounds of crickets and frogs like you would in the countryside.

 photo sympolicdance_zps113d7d85.jpgThe performance began with farmers waking up to perform their tasks in the rice paddies.

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The performance focused on the life in the countryside, like going to market, husking the rice, and tending the rice fields. photo _DT_5410_zps10972d45.jpgI was happy to sit beside James Pham who helped me understand some parts of the show.

 photo Spiritual_zpsd98c72ca.jpgI have to admit though that one part of the show confused me — the scene right after a big storm where the women danced as if possessed. Was it the storm they were interpreting? :P

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I mean in the Philippines, we name our typhoons using women’s name because as theysay, as a typhoon always changes directions and the wrath it inflicts , so do women. :P

 photo su31B0o31B0ngSo31B03010m4_zps9884b6f0.pngTwo performances stood out for me. The first was when the farmers began using native instruments to make music. The audience were able to join in using these —which according to my 6 year old were nunchuks. LOL. Hubby said that these are actually rice ladle joined together.

 photo 20140915_192109_zps6ed6e514.jpgMy second favorite performance was the love story portrayed in ballet.

 photo Love_zpsec57ebd4.jpgIt was a lovely, elegant performance! It was like watching a dramatic choreography by Sonya Tayeh of  So You Think You Can Dance. :)

 photo Ngo3230cAnhampTo30203010Nhu31B0TrongSu31B0o31B0ngSo31B03010m_zpsd3f4f478.jpgThe show ended with a rain of rice symbolizing abundance.

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The Mist will be shown again on September 18, October 15 and 16. The show starts at 8 pm and is approximately 60 minutes.

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You may book your tickets at Arabesque Vietnam or send an email to reservation@themist.com.vn.
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What is in the air?

Unlike in other countries where you can log on a website and get the pollution index, Vietnam doesn’t seem to have one — well at least none that is in English that I can search through Google. That’s why when Aron Szabo of IQ Air began posting about the quality of air in Ho Chi Minh City, I was really happy. Aron took it upon himself to post on days when pollution got really bad. When you got kids and when you have someone like me who has allergic rhinitis that doesn’t really go away, his updates are heaven sent. Here’s Aron and Aron’s wife, Rita’s take on air quality in Vietnam.

The air that we breathe has a great impact on our lives. We can survive for days without food and water, but only a few minutes without air. The quality of air that we breathe is also of essential importance for our well-being.

The less allergens, microorganisms and chemical pollutants we breathe, the smaller the chance of becoming ill.

Air pollution in Vietnam? Yes!

You may have already heard, that the air quality in Vietnam is among the worst world-wide. Although the awareness is not as high as in China, particle count in the bustling cities of HCMC and Hanoi can resemble to those in Beijing or Shanghai.

The fact is there are over 3.5 million asthma sufferers in Vietnam, which is a rather significant number of the total population.

There are a number of reasons for air pollution in Asia, among which the high number of manufacturing sites and the yet missing environmental regulations and awareness are three major factors.

Significant sources of air pollution in Vietnam:

    • Traffic pollution (millions of motorbikes)
    • Mold (indoors – formulates very easily in places of high humidity)
    • Burning trash (at the side of the road, even within residential areas)
    • Constructions (continuously all around)
    • VOCs (in any households photo traffic_hcmc_hs_zps68783b01.jpg

Air pollution can affect our health in many ways with both short-term and long-term effects. Different groups of people are affected by air pollution in different ways. Some individuals are much more sensitive to pollutants than others. Generally speaking, the most endangered groups by air pollutants are young children, the elderly and individuals with weakened immune system. The most common effects of air pollution are asthma, bronchitis, allergies, nausea, and eye, nose and throat irritation.

Did you know…?

Indoor air quality is often 3-5 times worse than outdoor. Since statistically we spend over 90% of our time indoors, indoor air quality significantly influences our general health. While we tend to pay a lot of attention to the quality of food we eat or to the purity of water we drink, we have only recently started to understand the significance of the one factor that is just as, if not more crucial – the quality of the air we breathe.

Clean air in Vietnam? It’s possible!

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What can I do to improve the air quality in my home?

IQAir tips:

  • Keep your rooms well-ventilated
  • Put plants into your home (best ones: aloe, bamboo palm, snake plant, etc…)
  • Do not smoke indoors
  • If outdoor air quality is ok, open your windows for half an hour (especially after cooking indoors)
  • Prevent mold formations
  • Reduce VOC emitting household products (more on this: http://www.air-purifier-vietnam.com/content/vocs-%E2%80%93-personal-experience-harmful-household-products)
  • Keep a healthy level of humidity (30-50% keeps allergens and mold spores under control)
  • Have your ACs cleaned frequently
  • Get rid of fitted carpets

For further information, interesting news and IQAir tips, please visit our website:  http://air-purifier-vietnam.com/

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Brokerfish Emergency Phone Number Resource

Traveling to another country may be daunting for some — especially when it’s a totally different culture. Lessen your anxiety by reading up on the people, places, and culture. And don’t travel without a handy list of emergency contact numbers. BrokerFish did just that and have in their database emergency phone number resource on 43 countries!

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“The emergency cards are designed to keep expats and travelers safe while abroad by providing easy access to local contact details for emergency, travel, transport and utility services. They come in three handy formats: wallet, fridge and online.”

Here’s the fridge version for Vietnam:

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Here’s the wallet version:

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“100% FREE, keep safe while overseas with BrokerFish’s emergency phone number cards. They include local contact details in 43 countries for police, ambulance, fire brigade, poison, taxi, airport, rail, directory enquiries, immigration, tourism board, lost & found, electrical, water and gas services!”

Check out their website: https://www.brokerfish.com/emergency-phone-numbers/

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Amazing things on Vietnamese Motorbikes

By guest blogger, Sophia Wright

Vietnam is completely different from all other countries I have visited so far. The amount of things happening everyday is overwhelming. It is just like another world and totally differs from home. I was very much expecting getting around the country to be surprising and challenging.

My impression about Ho Chi Minh City? It is chaos. There are more motorbikes than people. I like to call it Scooter City. Scooters have dominated the city, and when there is not enough space on the roads, people just drive on the pedestrians. “When you are in Rome, do as the Romans do” so I booked a scooter road trip from a tour company to discover around the city and Mekong Delta.
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I had seen photos on internet showing different things that carried on their scooters in Southeast Asia but up until I visited Vietnam, I had not actually witnessed it…by thousands. Yes, people carry strange, ridiculous and crazy things that you can think of on the bikes. Sitting on the back of the tour guide’s bike, I was happily observing the changing scenery. Well, here are some of the funny things that I captured on Vietnam roads.
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Dozens of live gooses strapped in a cage at the back of a motorbike, hung by every possible appendage.
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Some pigs get their first and probably last ride around town
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A full size refrigerator
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Doing gym while riding motorbike!
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I have no idea how he managed to keep heavy sacks in place while riding

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The crazy number of snacks crammed onto this man’s motorbike.

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The impressive amount of bananas was carried on the back of (in fact, all over) the motorbike. I wondered why the bananas weren’t crushed
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Surprising: President Hochiminh on the ride!!! He seems to be pleased and comfortable on the chair while observing the city though.

Tell me which photo is your favourite?

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Disney Live in Ho Chi Minh City

Been envious of friends back home having all the great theater shows all year round. Even Hi-5 visit to Manila was something I was wishing we’d have here in in Saigon. I know the kids will love them. Then my friend Gladz told me about Disney Live coming to HCMC
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We spent the afternoon googling to find more news and way to purchase the tickets. And voila, we found out it’s going to be shown at the Hoa Binh Theatre in District 10. 
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There will be 12 shows from September 24-28 with only 2 shows (September 27 and 28) in English! So we knew we had to book quickly.
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Booking is quite easy. Just click on Mox.vn. Choose the date you want to watch and click on your preferred seats. Fill out the shipping information and voila, you’re done! I received a call in less than an hour confirming my booking and informing me that the tickets will be sent next week.  photo disney2_zps5cef156f.pngTickets are priced at 350,000, 600,000 and 900,000 VND. Thanks Kellan for pointing out the seating arrangement. The Main Auditorium only has 600k and 900k priced tickets. But if you check out the 2nd Floor Auditorium, there’s an option for the 350k seats marked in pink. There are 600k seats as well on the second floor.

So there! This is the first time that Disney Live is coming to Vietnam so if you have kids or if you’re a kid at heart, grab the opportunity! It sure is cheaper than flying home and catching Disney Live there.

**UPDATE

If you use your HSBC credit card to pay, you get 15% off!!! :) If you have trouble paying, just call Minh Anh at 62882939. She’s extremely helpful! Kudos to Mox!

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Ho Chi Minh City – Gateway to Fab Holidays

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People’s Committee Building, photo by Armi Deticio

Done with the Ho Chi Minh City tour? Visited the Cu Chi Tunnels already? Posed in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral? Cried in the War Remnants Museum? Rode the cyclo? Already immersed yourself in the street culture of Saigon?

Time to step out of Saigon and drive a bit further out the city to explore new sights!

Saigon with all its charm and chaos is a perfect gateway to neighboring tourist sites. Some takes you two hours or may be half a day but compared to other places in Asia, traveling won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Mekong Delta River Tour

Explore the towns of Cai Be, Vinh Long, Ben Tre and, Can Tho. Take a morning river ride and see the floating market come to life. We tried the Cai Be and Vinh Long route before and it was a wonderful opportunity to see the countryside and indulge in some local delicacies. You will never go hungry if you take this tour, I tell you. And while you’re at it, try the snake wine too!

Ho Tram

Another of my favorite destinations outside Saigon is Ho Tram which is just 2.5 hours by bus. And if you’ve been staying in Saigon for a while, you’d know that vehicles here travel from 40-60 kph only so 2.5 hours travel is quite short.  The more popular resort in this area is The Grand Ho Tram Strip.  It’s the nearest beach you can go to from Saigon.

Phan Thiet

If you can have half a day devoted to travel, Phan Thiet is a terrific option for beach bums. There’s a long strip along Nguyen Dinh Chieu in the town of Mui Ne, where you can laze your day away by the beach or visit the awe-inspiring Yellow Sand Dunes or the White Sand Dunes. And while you’re there, make sure to try the seafood! We always drop by Hoa Vien or Cay Bang.

Phu Quoc

Phu Quoc is an island destination in Ken Giang Province found at the South West of Saigon. It’s roughly a 30-minute plane ride. Yup! You aren’t done with your snack yet and you’re already landing. We’ve tried Air Mekong on our holiday there and we had a smooth trip. What I loved most about Phu Quoc is the pristine white Sao Beach and of course the food! Phu Quoc is also home to a national park including land and sea areas.

Cambodia

Yup, from Ho Chi Minh City, it’s just a 4-hour ride to Phnom Penh. If you’re holding an ASEAN passport, you don’t have to worry about getting a Visa once you get to the border. Explore the city’s capital and visit interesting spots like the National Museum, Royal Throne Hall, Silver Pagoda, Wat Phnom, and Victory Monument. Take a plunge in Cambodia’s history by visiting the Killing Fields and Toul Sleng Museum. But of course remember to cap off your stay with a visit to the Russian Market. If you want to take a longer visit to Cambodia, Siem Reap is worth the trip!

Those are 5 fantastic ways to take full advantage of your stay in Ho Chi Minh City!

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Thanks for helping us help HOW!

Thank you everyone to those who dropped by our booth, Loom Creations in last Sunday’s Saigon Flea Market. Thank you also to those who helped spread the word and those who expressed their interest in volunteering their talent and time to Helping Orphans Worldwide.
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Thank you to our families and friends who helped set-up and sell from 11 am till 6 pm!

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It was our first time to join the Saigon Flea Market and I laud all those people who work in the selling industry. It’s not easy selling! LOL

 photo viberimage_zps9b50c9b2.jpgGood thing by the afternoon, our friend’s son, Ben, started doing a demo. :D

 photo 20140824_170605_zps8d43b553.jpgThat helped engage customers. Again, thank you so much to all those who bought our items!

 photo 20140824_154028_zps43c82ab4.jpgWe would like to also thank Kerri from HOW for dropping by and buying as well!

 photo 20140824_173607_zps9976abb1.jpgSpecial thanks to our supplier Thun Cau Vong and Ms. Thu. I urge you to check out their website and buy from them if you’re looking for ORIGINAL Rainbow Loom products. They offer free delivery in HCMC!

If you have time to volunteer or donate, do read up on Helping Orphans Worldwide and help save lives!

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