Evening Dinner, Saigon

This small restaurant, typical of hundreds of thousands of low end eateries in Saigon and elsewhere in Vietnam, appears to serve up rice with deep fried chicken (about $1.70) and five spices chicken noodles (about $1.90). I would not be surprised to find that these two meals and some beverages are all that is on the menu. Vietnamese fried chicken, by the way, is not dipped in batter before frying. The chicken pieces are simply rubbed in salt and pepper, then deep fried. Yes, the chicken is generally parboiled before frying.

This photo was taken when Minh and I visited Saigon in November, 2022.


Climbing Hai Van Pass

A spectacular view across Da Nang Bay opens up as I drive towards the summit of Hai Van Pass. The pass goes over the mountains that divide Da Nang and the coastal plain to the south from Hue and the coastal plain to the north. Looking due east, Da Nang’s downtown area is hidden by low clouds just to the left of center of this image. The city, which now has close to 1.4 million people, has expanded along the south side of the bay, with urban development now extending almost to the base of the pass.


Russian Embassy, Beijing, China

Looking for something else, I happened to run across this image of the huge Russian embassy compound in Beijing. Beyond the fact that China’s relationship with Russia is in the news these days, there is no particular reason for posting this photo. It was taken in February of 2012, several months before I departed from Beijing and China for good.

For more than 200 years the site was home to the Russian Orthodox Ecclesiastical Mission, which acted as a sort of unofficial representative of the Russian government. After the Russian revolution in 2017, people fleeing Russia found refuge at the mission. In the 1950s after the establishment of the PRC, the Mission was closed and the property and buildings were turned over to the USSR. An embassy housing the USSR’s and later Russia’s diplomatic mission to China was built and opened for use in 1959.


Winter Day, Da Nang, Vietnam

There is never snow or really cold weather in this part of the world, but there is definitely a winter season in central Vietnam. It is characterized by rain, overcast days, and the occasional damp chill with temperatures in the 60s. Laugh if you will, but when you live in a house that is completely open to the exterior environment and the temperature inside is the same as the temperature outside, a damp 65 degrees can feel pretty raw and uncomfortable when you are lounging around that house. Normally, the rainy, wintry season begins in late September or October and is over by early to mid-January. Not this year – unseasonable rain, wind, and low temperatures have been with us throughout February.