SIM Card Review : Viettel (Vietnam)

I’ve long talked about the benefits of having a local SIM card when visiting another country. Staying connected lets you easily keep in touch with family and friends at home, helps you make hotel, flight and other purchases without needing to use insecure WiFi networks, and gives you the confidence to better navigate the place you’re visiting – which can often lead to more local and “off the beaten path” experiences.

Today, I look back on my mobile experience while visiting Vietnam in February of this year.

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Episode 28.5 – Censored

 

You often hear about censorship and propaganda when discussing Communist countries like Vietnam, but you never really see it in action.  But last Sunday night in Hanoi, I watched it take place before my eyes.

Not all censorship is as forward as the incident I describe in this add-on to episode 28 of the podcast.  There are other ways that conversation is curtailed and a world view is shaped on a regular basis – like the tape delay of cable news channels like CNN and BBC World, or laws which prohibit saying certain things about certain historical figures.

My biggest takeaway is that we fail to understand the gravity of the words “censorship” and “propaganda” when we throw them around trivially.  To truly appreciate these words, you have to look to places where they form public policy.

It’s important to not let this one part of my Vietnam visit take away from the incredible experiences I had with so many people in the country.  But, I’d be failing in providing context to my trip if I didn’t talk about this.

Episode 27 – Greetings from China Beach

This week’s featured image, by the way, is a photo of sunrise (this morning!) on My Khe Beach (aka “China Beach”) here in Danang.

Coming up on this week’s show :

  • I went for a burger, but got more than I bargained for.  Dinner and conversation with a lady who lived through a big piece of Vietnam’s modern history.
  • A little R&R of my own – doing the math on getting a private room.
  • Taking the train from Nha Trang to Da Nang.  What was a night like on the Reunification Express?
  • Mud Pools and Deadpool in Nha Trang

For more on Mojzo Dorm in Nha Trang, check out their Hostelworld entry.  For more on Danang Beach Hotel, click here.

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Hell on Two Wheels

Since landing in Vietnam, I haven’t been able to get Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s recent ode to mopeds – Downtown – out of my head.

My seat is leather, alright, I’m lying, it’s pleather
But girl, we could still ride together
You don’t need an Uber, you don’t need a cab
F*** a bus pass, you got a moped man…

No matter where I’ve been in this country – from the chaotic streets of Ho Chi Minh City to the mountain town of Dalat to the chilled out beachside of Nha Trang, motorcycles, scooters and mopeds are everywhere.  Sure, there’s the occasional private car and a fair number of taxi cabs, but to bastardize an Animal Farm quote (fittingly), “two wheels good, four wheels bad.”

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