Where does an expatriate eat Thanksgiving dinner when it’s being served half a world away? … It’s Thanksgiving week back in the United States, my home country. I have indelible memories of family feasting — of roast turkey, its juices locked in by its crispy skin; of moist stuffing and mashed potatoes with savory gravy;Continue reading “12. No Thanksgiving? No problem”
No Vietnamese food is better known than the beef-noodle soup called phở. Served everywhere in Vietnam and in restaurants around the world, phở is the ultimate comfort food. It may be found from street stalls to fine-dining restaurants, and it’s as ubiquitous in households as the tomato soup or chicken broth your mother made whenContinue reading “11. Going with the phở”
Having once appeared in a school play, I decided to explore a career in acting. The audition went smoothly, and then … The ad was simple enough. A production company was auditioning English-speaking actors (no experience necessary) to appear in a promotional video for an international financial firm. Announced on a website directed at expatriatesContinue reading “9. My brilliant (acting) career”
An all-day lesson at a northern Thai cooking school is followed by a late-night romp with the Midnight Ramblers, a regionally renowned cover band. … A big part of travel for me is always the food. I have loved Thai food for as long as I can remember. In recent years, inspired by chefs likeContinue reading “8. An appetite for Chiang Mai”
Ancient tradition collides with modern tourism on a “visa run” to northern Thailand. If I lived here, I would no doubt be a Buddhist. … From the time I first ventured into Thailand at the age of 26, I had been hearing rapturous recommendations about travel to Chiang Mai, in the country’s far north. MetropolitanContinue reading “7. Chiang Mai, city of temples”
John finds a job, negotiates money and visa crises, and makes new and old friends to help ease the transition to his new life. … It didn’t take long for me to get a job teaching English in Ho Chi Minh City. As AVSE had promised, the school made an email introduction for me withContinue reading “6. Stacking the dominoes”
Hero or villain? In Vietnam, there’s no question where his legacy stands. Some thoughts about Hô Chí Minh and the country’s contemporary history. The guidebooks may disagree, but I consider the heart of modern Ho Chi Minh City to be a larger-than-life statue of its namesake. The guidebooks may point you to the Nôtre-Dame Cathedral,Continue reading “5. Uncle Ho”
John explores some of the sights of Ho Chi MInh City, including the Bitexco Tower, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office and the Jade Emperor Pagoda. On the day in late November that Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, AVSE handed me a diploma and threw me out in the street. It was not a surprise; IContinue reading “4. Learning the city”
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