Wednesday, October 29, 2008

i don't drive but now i want to

For a long time, A and I have vowed to grow up and get our driver's licences. See mine expired many moons ago and living in metro-tastic Montreal and being an avid cyclist, environmentalist & cheapskate to boot, I never felt the need for a car. My city-boy partner, having grown up in Paris, never even learned how.

Anyway, now there are cars that I wouldn't feel so bad driving, and they're cute too! Check one out in the Our World 2.0 videobrief below, then go to Our World 2.0 and read the article about it, and mine about hunger too.

The electric sunflower from UNUChannel on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

brushing on a glow

I've had many an idea about things to post about on this blog but often hesitate because most topics aren't related to my original concept, which was, "Wow, I moved across the globe, share my wonder with me!" After two years here, I now feel quite at home and so, unless I travel, I don't feel my daily thoughts appropriate to the "Pinch me, is this real?" thing. Hence I post less and less.

However, I have decided that this feeling is beyond silly since it's not as if I have a huge readership or advertisers who expect me to be faithful to that original concept. Which was mine alone in the first place so I can damn well ignore it any time I want! And I have ignored it occasionally in the past anyway so from now on, I'm going to post whenever I want, about whatever I want. And no one (I assure you, if you're actually there) is going to give a sh*t! See, I'll even be vulgar too!

Okay, so now that the concept's out the window (no, no, Grace, don't go after it! *slam* window closes in the nick of time), I just wanted to share a health/beauty tip for anyone who wants to stimulate their skin's circulation, helping rid their body of toxins and renew their complexion as a bonus. People who know me well know that, though I am fit and a smidge more active than your average Jane, I'm plagued by bad genes that have led to a lifelong struggle with eczema and allergies. I'm also sensitive to western medicine/pharmaceuticals, most making me sleepy or stoned, in a bad way.

So, in dealing with these issues, I've done my share of research & experimenting with alternative things like natural remedies. My latest favourite is skin brushing. You get yourself a long handled sisal (natural fibre) brush and brush yourself every morning, starting from your feet and brushing up, towards your heart. Last but not least is your face. These brushes, sold for skin brushing purposes, are soft so it's not scratchy if you're gentle on yourself. You can sometimes skip the body if you're in a rush (though it takes only 3-4 min.), but don't skip your face if you want to show off a new glow!

Me? Aside from looking healthy and having softer skin, I'm feeling better these days. Of course that could be partly because I gave up on homeopathics and went on Claritin, probably until the first frost, a month or so from now. Anyone know the long term implications of taking allergy meds daily?

Later or tomorrow I'm going to post for your advice on my new logo/business slogan. Pinch Me, pinch you, whatever...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

mekong mojo

fresh fish on Flickr21 August - Ho Chi Minh to Mekong Delta

My expectations had been high, having read of the splendiferous floating markets and canoe tours through small canals and rivers. Our espoir had suffered somewhat after we went to the travel agency in Hanoi to finalize the details of our deposit-already-paid-online tour packages and discovered we had bought via a copy-cat travel agency(common in Vietnam) and not the actual reputable one we had believed it to be.

But what could we do? We took our itineraries and receipts and off we went. The guide was to pick us up in Ho Chi Minh City over a week later, as we descended further south after Hue and Hoi An. Worry returned upon arrival in HCMC, when we tried calling the Hanoi office to confirm the pick-up and got a bit of run-around for over a day, finally getting confirmation the evening before our supposed departure for the Mekong.

Well, yee of little faith were rewarded with a very sweet and knowledgeable guide early the next morning. The only real disappointment was hearing how much driving we were to be doing when I had anticipated us doing most of the trip by boat.

But by lunch that day we were already in love with the picturesque Mekong, having spent a couple of hours driving out of HCMC to the delta, then boating through small canals, touring a fruit farm, and watching some local singers before our feast of local food.

After lunch it was off to Can Tho, a very picturesque and old fashioned Delta city set on one of the branches of the Mekong, where we would spend the night.

22 August - Floating market and Chau Doc

Today was a busy and super-colourful day. The floating market was just as fascinating and photogenic as I had heard. Add in a stop at a local street market and a small boat tour through some very back-country canals for a peek at how the locals live, and it was already the cherry on the tour.

But that was not it for the day, we also went off to Sam Mountain to see the view and an associated famous temple and pagoda. We had a great local dinner at a small (non-touristy, yay!) resto and spent the night in Chau Doc.

We were up early the next morning to catch our boat for the 5-hour ride up the Mekong river all the way to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I have never before passed through a river border, it was cool! So all-in-all, yup, this leg was up there in my favs.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

orange candy flowers and wind-up birds

My sensei told me what the tree is called in Japanese but my notebook's in the other room and I'm lazy, so I'll stick to my made-up name; it's the orange-candy tree's flowering season and the fall breeze is therefore sweet these days.
In autumn Tokyo is also visited by a type of bird with an extremely squeaky song. I have as of yet failed to discover the name, or even get a decent glimpse, of these birds but they remind me of a Haruki Murakami novel, The Wind-up Bird Chronicles. Though my sensei also recently told me that the title is actually a reference to a cuckoo but I didn't know that when I was reading the book so I always heard squeeeeeeeeeak rather than cuuuckooo in my head as I read.
But of course I digress with nonsense when I actually just wanted to post a commitment to finish & put up here my next Vietnam travelogue installment. I should have it up by Tuesday, with perhaps some Mekong photos too. I added more pix to the Hoi An set this morning and just have a few more days' worth to get through before arriving at the Mekong bunch.

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