Sunday, January 31, 2010

Samba Dancer Saigon

Samba Dancer Saigon
Originally uploaded by thomaswanhoff
I have no idea why the Saigon Paragon chosed Samba Dancers for the New Year performances. but if you want to see them, go there every evening between 19 and 21 h. They do some Samba Dancing.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The fast growth in Vietnam

This is something rather personal than an analysis. When I was passing by the bridge that leads from Thon Duc Tang to Quan 4, I remembered that just 1.5 years ago when we arrived so many things were different. Within this short period of time the Saigon Paragon was build, opened and has already its first anniversary coming. Although its still empty, its a landmark. Or look at the parking place where my wife learned driving a motobike: it's now the foundation of the crescent mall (200 retails shops? Do they know that most of the retail shops in Phu My Hung are for rent?).
Or the office building behind Unilever: There are finished now, so is the bridge - a shortcut from Unilever to the Australian International School. Look at the buildings at the so called Canal Street in Phu My Hung: People living now in, frozen yoghurt shops opened, and the Photo shop turned already into a nice cafe (PF Cafe). Oh, and the Calmette bridge opened as well as the Highway connecting Quan 8 and Quan 1. and last but not least the Phu My Bridge connects District 7 and District 8.
Vietnam is changing dramatically everyday, business open and close, buildings rise and fall so does companies. I always say there is no sustainability in Vietnam, and I am pretty sure there isn't, but on the other side there is this fast rising of new things which I kind of like. I look for change, for development, and wether its the right or wrong direction> Vietnam is developing, thats for sure. And thats what I was missing in Germany.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How to work efficient and enjoy live

As many know I work mainly from my home office. For two reasons: The office of the company I am invested is not that comfortable and I don't have to be present there all day. Second, I want to work more efficient, and mist offices (and business owners) just don't allow this. I want to list some reasons why and how I work very efficient and can ensure quality of work as well as quality of life.

1. Check your emails in the morning from home, on the way to the office or in any coffee shop. But don't do this in the office. Why? Because you will get disturbed there by colleagues, paperwork, phone calls.

2. Turn off Skype and other IM as much as you can. They are time killers. Turn Skype really OFF if you have to work on a presentation. It saves you time!

3. Schedule meetings for one hour and be prepared. Have a agenda. Share your notes with others using collaboration tools.

4. Don't do multitasking, It simply doesn't work most of the time. Exception: While downloading 20 GB you can work on a document. While driving from A to B you can check emails.

5. Use mindmaps, Believe it or not, but they save you time in meetings, while thinking.

6. Have lunch. You and your brain needs a rest. It's important.

7. Finish your work in time: There is always another email that needs to be done. If so, answer it on the way home or even at home. No problem with that. Your family will appreciate your early arrivals even if you answer a email after playing basketball with the boys in daylight.

8. Work with To-Do-Lists. Only only list is better than several lists. Use tools with checkboxes for it (Outlook has it build in), and tools that work with your mobile, so you can manage your to dos anywhere.

9. Enjoy life.

10. Add more ideas in the comments section.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Qype: Saigon Paragon in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City - Shopping - Shopping Malls

The Saigon Shopping Center is one of the landmarks in the new urban area Phu My Hung. at night yiu see the skytrackers getting attention. It's build as a luxury shopping mall, so expect some fashion shops, jewelry, watches. That's pretty much it. No international brands beside Levi's and Esprit. All products are incredible expensive. Do not expect the sellers to have any idea about what they are selling, so no advice from them or any explanation. No western sizes above 34 for men available.
The food court in the basement is not bad, yet no real luxury atmosphere but reasonable prices.
The still strange thing is that the co-owners, the Khai Silk Cooperation, think that they will attract customers playing loud music outside the building.
Main reason for many people to go to this place is actually the cinema in the 5th floor. International standard, although not many movies on the schedule.

Check out my review of Saigon Paragon - I am thomaswanhoff - on Qype

Qype: Yogen Fruz in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City - Eating & Drinking - Cafes & Coffee Shops - Juice, Shakes & Smoothies

Frozen yoghurt just reached Vietnam, and more and more shops are popping up. Yogen Fruz is a international franchise with at least two shops, one in District 1 at Ngyuen Thi Minh Khai and the other one in Phu My Hung at the Canal Street.
They have low calorie yoghurts with a lt of different stuff to blend and as a topping. What I liked is that only the staff touches the yoghurt machine, what gives you a bit more guarantee than the self service shops. Staff is also very helpful with the selection process (which is a bit confusing at the beginning). They speak good english as well and are very friendly.
Prices are a bit high, but after a view visits we already got some discount coupons.
My favourite is Vanilla low fat no sugar blended with strawberrys and topped with coconut and almond.

Check out my review of Yogen Fruz - I am thomaswanhoff - on Qype

Qype: Rock it in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City - Eating & Drinking - Pubs & Bars - Pubs

A new venue in town, classic sports bar wit a pool table, many tv screens showing ESPN and Star Sports. It's located in the so called Lucky Plaza mall, just go upstairs and you will find it. Best tables are the ones with a view on the Nguyen Hue street.
Try the pizza, the 15inch is about 200.000 VND and more than enough for 2 people.
It's a modern places for tourists, expats and middle class locals, so its clean and they have english speaking staff. Free Wifi and Happy Hours for draft beer. Expects Burgers and Salads for a reasonable price.

Check out my review of Rock it - I am thomaswanhoff - on Qype

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Vegetarian restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon

I already mentioned the variety of vegetarian food in Vietnam. It's mainly based on the buddhism and the meat-free-day during full moon. So many people go to vegetarian or vegan restaurant, how it's called here.
We recently went to a new place, called The Loving Hut. It seems to be a branch of an Australian Vegan Food Chain. It's located in District 7, right behind the Lotte Mart (if you come from District 4, turn left after the Lotte Mart, turn left again on the next corner and then follow the street about 300 Meter. It's a 242 Le Van Luong Street.
Prices are average, around 40.000 VND for a dish. The presentation is just great, the restaurants (one month open) is clean, nice decorated. The staff is friendly and speaks some English.
See some pictures below

This is called Fried Tofu Rolls
fried tofu rolls

We also ordered Tofu BBQ skewers
fried bbq tofu skewers

Find below a map with all the Vegetarian restaurants (and some other nice locations)

View Restaurants in Saigon in a larger map

Monday, January 4, 2010

Vietnams economy and the future - face reality

On the weekend I read the probably best article about the economic reality in Vietnam since a long time. It was published by Thanh Nien News in a special report. If you, dear reader, are interested in Vietnams development, then read carefully what the experts say about the middle income trap. Some quotes:

Jonathan Pincus, dean of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program, said Vietnam’s approach to lower middle-income status is still based on growth that draws from “moving people out of very low-productivity activities.

Growth for middle-income countries must be based on “mastering new technologies, producing more sophisticated goods, breaking into new markets and improving workers’ skills,” Pincus said.

The country’s development has been “passive,” dependent on the “liberalization effect” after doi moi and large inflows of investment, capital and aid, and unable to create “internal value” to ensure sustainable growth.

Vietnam is still some years away from the middle-income trap, he said, “but since it takes a long time to build the institutions of a modern economy, it is never too early to start.”

Why do I like this article so much? Because it show the reality: Vietnam may developed a middle class, but this class represents a small percentage and is mainly based on cash. People got rich and wealthy by selling assets like land and gold, some by getting licences from foreign companies. The Vietnamese value comes only from rice, coffee and fish. There is no industrial good Vietnam is able to export. Beside food there is not much left that is produced in Vietnam. so the country needs innovation and improvment. That's the challenge for 2010.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

hard rock cafe ho chi minh city

We went to the Hard Rock Cafe at Hai Ba Trung today. It's what you expect: A Hard Rock Cafe. Good Burgers, good music, beer and music memorabilia. Really pricey, 300.000 for the burger and 80.000 for a beer is up-market. So mu suggestion is come Tuesday to Thursday when it's not overcrowded and have a Saigon Beer for 60.000, the cheapest beer. Arrive after 8pm, so you can enjoy the band. The current band rocks the house and they are in town until January 31st.