Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Rising Dragon

I have completed another book review, of BBC veteran Bill Hayton's 2010 study of Vietnam's recent economic development and social changes, Vietnam: Rising Dragon. Please click here to read it.

I am particularly pleased to have got this one done as it took me a long time to get into writing the review. At one point I thought of giving up, as I hadn't reviewed an academic book such as this one before and really didn't know where to start. Eventually, however, I pushed through and reached my 1,000 minimum words. I hope it will at least be coherent and logical to the reader; I have re-read it so many times that I can't tell any more.

I went to another Zumba class this evening, which was good fun. It's unlucky that I may have found a new hobby just before Tet begins and classes will not be running. Another exercise I would like to start practising more regularly is yoga- I will have to look out for classes in Phu My Hung. I usually exercise by running and occasionally swimming, but am hoping I can replace these two very repetitive sports with something a bit more exciting.

When I got home from the class Thuy had prepared a big bowl of pho (noodle soup with beef) for my tea. I think she may have noticed my interest in eating 'proper' Vietnamese food- we normally eat Taiwanese food (I think), recipes that Jessica has taught to Thuy. But as Jessica has been away Thuy has been trying me with some Vietnamese specialities such as pho, Bun Bo Hue (a lemongrass soup with noodles that comes from Hue), and a special Tet cake made from a greenish brick of sticky rice filled with a few slimy pieces of pork, which actually wasn't very nice at all. For a country with wonderful cuisine, the Vietnamese make some awful festival treats, to my taste at least. I still recall the nasty surprise of being given a piece of Moon Cake at the last big lunar celebration, expecting something sweet and discovering it to be filled with durian, the world's smelliest fruit, and a hard-boiled egg.

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