Why are Vietnamese books so cheap?

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Can somebody tell me why Vietnamese books are so affordable?

 photo b878626e06db048a89f799c847a2a6817af769e1f6629307fd886a34223c25c1_zpsth0ujpwu.jpgEven translated copies of bestsellers are better priced than the original ones.

 photo 188d23b7cc700bab67cd3dbf35fc64a34c738fcc24373a135407cb8a54a2d959_zpsjodth6wb.jpgOne of the best things a government can do for its countrymen is to help increase literacy by letting people have access to reading materials.

 photo 20932b37ca9775809ed9fcbb0de9cc7d02b09a89463a443392af3b6ca8746015_zps7lplk46h.jpgAll these books range from 13,000 VND to 45,000 VND. Can you imagine buying a book for less than a dollar?

Posted in Exploring Saigon | Tagged | 4 Comments

Digital Textile Printing & Silk

With friends and family visiting and friends moving away, it has been a challenge to find meaningful souvenirs that are easy to carry home and something that will last.
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It would be nice to have conversation pieces you could display at home without going over your luggage allowance and that could easily fit a standard bag.

 photo 14844925813_90d6d884d8_o_zpsqxbzjsdl.jpgI came across NKP Fashion Corporation. And their online store allows you to choose different Vietnam-inspired designs for pillow cases and canvas bags.
 photo 14439208491_9cd6eae53b_o_zpstiixriqq.jpgThey mostly cater to exporters and buyers who buy by the bulk but they do retail too. And for a small fee, they can deliver to your home. I just so love the pillow cases! Am still waiting for more designs to become available so I can get some for our home.

 photo 82558f9536494b4b0a6e8db73dc099c75558e7981b3bb1d11a1c1a5f99df3f64_zpspvxmn0vn.jpgQuang, its owner is very accommodating and even invited me to his showroom at 195 Ly Tu Trong Street in District 1.

 photo 20150622_123417_zpsqgz46vrc.jpgAs it turned out, digital textile printing is just a small part of his business.

 photo 20150622_123030_zpsjm4wjzav.jpgI was visiting textile heaven! The silk and prints were just so beautiful!

 photo 20150622_123043_zpsv8v7ludq.jpgMonochromatic silk fabric is priced from 300kVND per meter. Those with design are priced higher.

 photo 20150622_123130_zpsbgnvzzp8.jpgThe cotton-silk combination with pattern is priced lower than pure silk of course (starts from 330kVND if I remember correctly).

 photo 20150622_123125_zpsogr2svxx.jpgThe  print that I wanted costs 490kVND but it’s so pretty! The attendant said that I would need 2.5 meters of fabric to have a dress made.  Maybe I’ll go on a diet first to lower the fabric length to 2 meters. :P

So if you’re inclined to buy beautiful prints and silk, do check out Toan Thinh. I really should have visited when I needed an ao dai!

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Photo Story

For a few years now, I’ve been doing some photo album layouts for family and friends. Every Father’s Day, I try my hardest to make the deadline to get a Father’s Day album out.

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This was my last year’s project and Fuji Film in Phu My Hung has been my supplier. I liked the board albums and it’s so easy to deal with them. My only complaint is the pricing. Even after doing the layout myself, the price is a bit over my budget.

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I haven’t explored other album options in Fuji Film though, but enter Photo Story.

 photo 2072fadbaf5a6b9ceee523c66e45ac9ef2cb62cc7fa75281f996d21f672797c5_zpshi8bejrq.jpgThe binding is high quality.  Photo Story uses different papers for the inside pages of the album. I chose matte of over glossy. And there are different sizes, designs, and number of pages.

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The print came out great and I just wished I spent time more time on editing and designing. :P As usual, I was cramming!

Just by logging in their site, you can do your layout online using their software. However, for someone who has been doing layouting for quite a while, I found it a bit restrictive as there were layouts that I use that was not available. Background designs were readily available though and I just realize now that there is a way to get around the standard layouts in their software.  Hmmm… maybe next time. :)

To order your album, you can pay via credit card or via bank transfer.  The price is way more affordable than Fuji Film. Their customer service is terrific as they answer my questions via email quickly. Also, I requested for rush delivery and they obliged.

If you do try their service, just be patient with them on their delivery as my experience wasn’t all that good.

But overall, the product, service, and cost is just right on the pocket.

Posted in Sharing Saigon, Spills | Tagged | Leave a comment

You know you’re in Vietnam when…

 photo 9fc1f14e6f92de78ef9ba1d45a0003ee06df62729a62cddf338a7ac994404b51_zpsbbrlgric.jpgWell… at least in Ho Chi Minh City…

  1. You have to leave your footwear by the door upon entering a home. Not unusual to do so as well when entering a shop.
  2. You realize that you’re in a different pair of slippers you’ve mistakenly taken when exiting a shop. :P
  3. You can’t go to the bank on your lunch break. The banks are closed.
  4. You have to share the sidewalk with motorbikes using ‘em as alternative route.
  5. It’s not uncommon to see more than 4 people on a motorbike — helmet optional.
  6. You don’t see people opening an umbrella when rain starts drizzling. Those you see who do are not Vietnamese. They’re more likely to be Filipinos who have become traumatized by typhoons.
  7. You can have anything delivered on a motorbike — including a 55” TV.
  8. Snacking means stacking various vegetable leaves and dipping ‘em in fish sauce.
  9. Iced cold coffee is a common breakfast drink.
  10. Rain doesn’t really stop motorbike riders to stop moving along.
  11. It’s not uncommon to see people walking around outside in their pajamas. And exercising in pajamas too!
  12. Aside from banh mi shops, you can find a number of fruit smoothies stores around. Literally. We have 9 in our apartment complex alone.
  13. Wearing rollers on your hair in public is not unusual. Airports included.

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Halo Halo Express Opens in Sky Garden 3

 photo 20150617_121953_zpsqxwgq4pd.jpgWhat is Halo-Halo? In English, “halo” means mix. So it’s loosely translated to MIX-MIX. :P

Halo Halo is the Filipino version of a Vietnamese sweet soup made from a mixture of cooked fruits, beans, and caramel flan — topped with crushed ice and milk! YUM!

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Fellow Filipino, Monet, opened up shop last week in Sky Garden 3, Phu My Hung. Now Filipinos can enjoy their summer quencher, Halo-halo, and indulge in several Filipino dishes.

 photo 20150609_182658_zpsgrmapqvv.jpgThe place is simply designed as your typical carinderia in any street corner in downtown Manila.

 photo 20150609_182649_zpsb6czphs0.jpgI personally like the tapsilog and the sisigsilog. Friends swear that the embusilog is delicious as well.

 photo 20150617_114830_zpsoqlxeya9.jpgSisigsilog

I usually do takeouts and even order some for lunch in the office.  :P
 photo 20150617_114823_zpscpkpwes3.jpgTapsilog

If you’re a Filipino and find yourself craving for some authentic Filipino dishes, drop by Monet’s shop! They do deliveries too!

Halo Halo Express
S45-2 Sky Garden 3, PMH , D7

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Lights and Baubles

If I could afford it, I’d go to The Grand Ho Tram every weekend. You know that elusive deep sleep and waking up refreshed? I have The Grand to thank for that. And I’m not being paid to write this okay. The only other resort that made we feel like that was in Camiguin Island in the Philippines.

 photo 20150612_121217_zpsd4gxt9cg.jpgSince this was our third time in the resort, I really didn’t feel like taking a lot of photos —except for those hallways, fixtures, lighting, and baubles that still keep me in awe.

 photo 20150612_123708_zpsajx5khch.jpgEverything still looks new!

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The elevator area always looks inviting.

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Lights and furniture have been my favorite subjects.

 photo 20150612_190615_zpswjcxmzbd.jpgThe Brasserie always catches your eye!

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A shot from the inside —

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The chandeliers are just pretty!

 photo 20150612_200630_zpsyxrkom7p.jpgCloser —

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This dragon display (gold in the morning and red in the evening) steal the show —

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This fixture by the staircase from the pool area to the spa is lovely —-

 photo 20150612_201605_zpsaadezkw9.jpgagainst the gold floral mosaic —

 photo 20150612_201635_zpsosrh8rh1.jpgWe wanted to go to the casino but found out that we can’t leave our 3 year old at the Kids Corner because they don’t have a babysitting service.

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A lighting from Ginger —

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Counters —

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This just don’t get old.

 photo 20150613_171622_zpsg0i4igh5.jpgSigh. Take me back!

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Supporting Helping HOW

So a few weeks ago, we were decluttering around the house and there were just a ton of stuff we wanted to let go. Most were toys that my kids have outgrown and a stroller. So remembering Helping HOW, that is also supporting an orphanage in Go Vap District, I decided to contact it’s co-founder, Hillary Brown.

We are happy that our stuff found new kids to play with.

 photo 11270350_10153279424134259_4754161466540675697_o_zps0xipeily.jpgThis orphanage is home to 22 kids run by nuns.

 photo 11148852_10153279422599259_2553095353011022921_o_zpsma4qfnnh.jpgFound this baby bouncer from a neighbour leaving for another country.

 photo 11063763_10153279422754259_6337652263983122813_o_zps1hc2rygp.jpgOur boys were very happy to see that other kids enjoying their toys that this coming August, instead of a huge party for our eldest’s 7th birthday, we’re planning to visit the orphanage.

 photo 10830970_10153279424004259_3268891164571908004_o_zpsp8lislav.jpg

We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the kids will be happy to see us too!

 photo 11174343_10153279422784259_5208596563610828566_o_zps0gjvmijv.jpgIf you feel like sending some of these kids some love, email me at hellosaigoncity@gmail.com.

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