Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"American Culture Day" or "A Sneaky Way To Watch The Super Bowl"

I have declared Monday Feb. 5, "American Culture Day" for my students. We are going to Santa Claus Monday morning to watch the Super Bowl. Being that the Super Bowl is one of, if not the, biggest cultural events in America, I decided it would be a perfect learning opportunity for my morning class.

I have given the students assignments to research each team and pick one to root for. Each day this week, I'm taking the first ten minutes of class to go over players to watch, NFL rules, and basic formations and strategy (Friday will be a full class period on NFL Football). Today we went over the star players for each team.

When I announced our "field trip" to the class, most of them laughed and rolled their eyes. Admittedly, this is really a blatant, self-serving way for me to watch the Super Bowl live and avoid teaching for a day. The fact that I'm able to turn it into an "educational" event hasn't really fooled anyone except maybe the office staff who only know that I'm taking my students out of the building. My students are taking it all in good humor and being fine enablers of my football addiction (this despite the fact that most of them either don't like sports period or simply couldn't give a hoot about the NFL). How many of them actually show up for class on Monday is yet to be seen, but what the hell. I get to watch the game. Hell, they should feel lucky. if the Redskins were playing, I would have declared a national holiday!

Friday, January 12, 2007

"Work" is a 4 letter word.

Well, it's Friday. My first week back at work after my trip is almost at an end. Thank God! Although I'm only working three hours a day (plus studying Korean 2 hours a night), the first week back from any break is always a bit disconcerting. After three weeks of getting up around noon, getting up at 6am is more than a struggle.

Well, I have enough time to go have a smoke before class. Sigh.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Scooter madness outside the Go2 Bar.

Go2 bar, Pham Ngu Lao, Ho Chi Minh City.

The friendly staff at the Go2 Bar.

Ho Chi Minh at City Hall.

Reunification Palace, Ho Chi Minh City.

Tank 390 crashing the gate of the Imperial palace, 1975.

This is the tank in the famous picture above. The crew are considered national heroes.

One of the thrilling exhibits in the Reunification Palace bomb shelter.

The most interesting place in the bomb shelter of the Reunification Palace.

Me and Sit the Cyclo Driver.

Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City.

I thought I was getting away from all the Christmas madness by going to Vietnam. How wrong I was.

New take on an old theme: a pair of dogs pulling a panda in a sleigh. Huh?

This kid was hilarious. He loved taking pictures and was surprisingly good at it.

Boats on the Mekong River.

Fishing for catfish.

Cobra/scorpian wine. Ummm...no thanks.

I'm not a tourist!!

The Mekong Delta

Jammin' in the Mekong. Unfortunately he was playing "Jingle Bells"...sigh.

163 Cyclo Bar, Pham Ngu Lao, Saigon.

Daa, a bartender at 163 Cyclo Bar. She spoke very little English, but boy did she love having her picture taken.


The new express train from Saigon to Nha Trang.

The train ride from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang provided a glimpse at how varied the terrain in Vietnam is. I was quite surprised.

The last thing I expected to see in Vietnam was cactus. This area was full of it.

On the way to Nha Trang.

The reason to go to Nha Trang.

Central Nha Trang.

Po Nagar Cham Towers, Nha Trang.

Inside the main tower at Po Nagar.

The Ten Pillars at Po Nagar.

Different views of Nha Trang from the Po Nagar Cham Towers.

View from the Sitting Buddha

Me and Buddha. Peas in a pod.

The Giant Sitting Buddha, Nha Trang.

The beach at Nha Trang. It was awesome.

I really like this picture. This girl just wandered down to the beach and hung out watching the waves by herself.

Hangin' on the beach in Nha Trang.

The surf was huge.


Touts on the beach. The only way to get away from these folks was to stand hip deep in the water.

The Red Sun Bar, Nha Trang.

Santa's Elves at the Red Sun Bar, Nha Trang.

Photos from the 'Nam

These photos are from the second half of my trip starting on the train from Nha Trang to Hoi An and ending in Hanoi. The rest of the photos will be posted soon.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Vietnam is nothing if not gorgeous. From the train to Hoi An.