I write now from the Pham Ngu Lao district in Ho Chi Minh that now is home to Saigon’s only decent “Starbucks-like” cafe. Saigon doesn’t have Starbucks yet but this place is darn close. They have enough selection that even an American would be satisfied although I’m sure the staff won’t understand what a “skinny” latte is, so better take it easy on the coffee jargon.
It’s been a while since my last entry and the blame lies directly on the scourge that is the MMORPG. And no it’s not a new Bush administration initative to spy on American citizens. The MMORPG stands for “Massive Multiuser Online Role Playing Games.” The game I play is “Knight Online” which has refused to release me from it’s grip for the past two and a half weeks. However, I finally have reached a decent level and have managed to secure a pretty effective Horn Crossbow Plus 5 with poison damage! Haha..
But honestly, these games are so captivating already and can only get better! I seriously predict that a good portion of the population will withdrawl from society like Japan’s “Hikikomori” since the online game world is much more exciting than real life. For those of you who don’t understand exactly what these games are,, just picture an entirely new worlds, yes worlds, where it can take years to properly develop your character. You can also make money in the real world through these games, but if you want to learn more just go to www.mmorpg.com.
As for Saigon, it continues it’s Sonic Boom of development and has gained it’s very first 24 hour convenience store! Not only that, but there is finally a hip new magazine for ex-pats called Saigon Inside Out and it is every bit as Tokyo’s Metropolis.
In other news, it is now the “Tet” holiday or Lunar New Year Holiday. It’s the time when everyone goes back to the countryside to visit relatives and pray for good fortune for the new year. The ex-pats all say that you gotta get out of the city since it’s dead here but that is simply untrue. First, it’s much more peaceful here without all the billions of motorbikes and I was struck smack in the face yesterday by a breath of fresh air! Unreal for Saigon. Secondly, there are plenty of venues still open, especially the ex-pat places. So actually this week isn’t any different from all the rest except that Saigon actually becomes an extremely pleasant place to live.