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Ah, yes. We all have some awareness of those hm-that-looks-familiar items back home.

But I didn’t quite know the extent of bootleg in Asia, until I saw this:

Looks familiar? Let’s take a closer look:

The kids asked me, “Cua Che, do you know how to play?”

Why yes. I believe I do.

Notice the variable colouration of the 10,000 dong bills. Also notice the use of almost-Mickey, for added credibility/fun/effect.

The usual “Chance” cards are also customized to the Vietnamese culture (“You need to park your motorcycle, pay 20,000 d”).


At the store, you can find Barbie and Lego-esque toys:

Some of the products look pretty good. Kudos to them for getting away with this stuff. I would buy it =P



Ba Na

In Đà Nẵngthere is an amusement park called Ba Na. The adults keep calling it Banana. It’s literally on top of a mountain and one must travel by cable car to get to the top. The ride takes about 20 minutes and is the longest non-stop cable car ride in the world (I saw the Guiness World Records award just outside- who knew?).

It’s a weird kind of place. A mish-mash of rides, food, and other entertainment.

I saw a monkey there! Earlier, we had seen signs warning visitors not to feed/pet the monkeys and we thought, “Really? Monkeys?”. Didn’t think we’d actually see one! Very cute =)

The rides weren’t exactly spectacular. I guess because we have Wonderland back home. The Ba Na amusement park seemed more like an upscale Playdium/arcade.

The Ba Na equivalent of Behemoth

The Ba Na equivalent of Behemoth

Mini Drop Zone

Mini Drop Zone

Also tried some indoor rock climbing. The idea is to use only one colour of footholds in order to grab a prize (attached to string at the top. We were briefed beforehand on all the rules to win a plushie (climbing on rock is allowed, no jumping from one lane to another, etc.)

One guy made it to the top, but cheated. He used a bunch of different colour footholds, then grabbed a plushie. The supervisor called out to him to let him know he wasn’t allowed to take one. Maybe he didn’t hear. Or care. When cheating-climber came down, he had his plushie taken away. Shame, shame.

Once it came my turn, I was pumped. Most of the people who went before made it about halfway using one colour. A few others made it to the top, but using multiple colours. Only one guy legitimately earned a plushie. I was aiming for a green plushie as a trophy of my victory over the wall.

I made it about halfway, when I ran out of large footholds. I couldn’t get a good grip of the little ones around me. And my right arm was starting to give out. In the end, I had to give up. The dream of a plushed animal war trophy to bring home was lost T-T


So. I have cousins from Taiwan (ages 17 and 14) who are visiting Vietnam for a few weeks. The thing is, they only speak Mandarin (plus very, very basic English… as in, their vocab is probably ~20 words).

Why is this a problem? The rest of the family speaks Vietnamese, many exclusively, some having additional English/Cantonese background. Almost no one in my family speaks Mandarin, and the majority of those who do aren’t completely fluent. My mom is one of the few who can carry on a conversation.

I to

ok two years of Mandarin class. And since I’m about the same age as them, I have been deemed Backup-Conversationalist-When-No-One-Else-Cares-to-Try.

Thing is, I haven’t used any, any, Mandarin for the past two years. So I am way out of practice; my linguistic skills are beyond shabby. As a result, any attempted communication with them on my part often results in a confused/blank look from them, or are suppressed smile (“oh I understand what you’re trying to say, but that’s some creative pronunciation there, Denise”).

During dinner, it got especially confusing. I was switching back and forth between multiple languages: speaking Cantonese with my mom and aunt, (attempted) Manadarin with my two cousins, Vietnamese with everyone else (with English when my vocab was insufficient). By midaway through the meal, I was mixing up languages, and speaking in a weird Frankenstein language consisting of words from all languages and a grammar that made no sense.

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