Thursday, July 26, 2007

For The President

Dear President Nakji,
Your wish is my command...
This morning, I braved the heat to do some field reportings on the latest development of the modern day "Tower of Babel" in Dubai....just for you...our dear President. ( Only one word though..AWESOME! (and take a good look at the Metro taking shape near the main road)

"At 512.1 metres (1,680 feet), Burj Dubai has become the world's tallest tower.
Burj Dubai, being developed by Emaar Properties, is now taller than Taipei 101 in Taiwan, which at 508 metres had been the tallest building in the world since it opened in 2004. Burj Dubai has now reached 141 levels - more storeys than any other building in the world.
On schedule for completion in 2008, Burj Dubai will be the tallest structure in the world in all four criteria listed by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. The council measures height to the structural top, the highest occupied floor, to the top of the roof, and to the tip of the spire, pinnacle, antenna, mast or flag pole.

By the way, Mr. President..i have reserved the suite unit for you on the 190th floor..please TT the down payment of US2.5 mil to my personal account asap
Humbly yours,
Black Feline

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Escape to Ajman

If one is looking for a place to get away from the busy city life and enjoy the sweet serenity of sunny beaches and resort hotels. Then Ajman is the ideal place for such an experience. The town of Ajman lies on the coast of the Arabian Gulf. Filled with historical landmarks which are left untouched by concrete jungles, Ajman is a model of culture and tradition. 1971 marked a historical moment when Ajman joined the United Arab Emirates.

I have good reasons to visit Ajman at least two times a week. My rendevous with this crazy old man originally from Palestine...more than 30 years ago. To be precise, he is my client. Somehow, my local distributor who has being serving him ..went missing for several months now and the old man was most unhappy.
"You come and see me...10am sharp...not in my office...but at the Coral Beach Resort." Who am I to argue with him? In fact, I love the idea. The heat in Dubai is eating into my brain...i need some sea breeze! The old man loves my company. I need his biz and he needs someone to listen to his it's mutual right? The other day, his good friend, a rich emiratis joined in. Both of them were bragging about their many trips (biz cum leisure) to China..." the ladies are attentive....everything..very good...the massage...."....................on and on and on..I put on a brave front throughout.
"Next week you come my house..we have a bbq by the pool...and i will introduce my 3 chameleons to you." said the old man .
" Chameleon??????????????" I asked.
"Yes...chameleon..u know.. like monitor lizard? I have 3...they move freely in the garden."
(photos taken at the Coral Beach Resort)

Monday, July 09, 2007

The "Big" Thing

When he walked into Starbucks....I was stunned for a moment..the sky blue costume was so overwhelming. Issa is a good friend of "Eddie Murphy"...also from Senegal. He has 3 wives...9 kids..two more on the way. The amazing thing....all livng under one roof!
" No fighting at all?"
" no no...we happy familee...hahahahahahahaha!"
"Sorry...u don't mind me u sleep together...i mean..the four of you?"
"hahahahahahahaahah...u bery no no house...we have 5 rooms...each wife one room...the children sleep together...hahahahahahaha...u bery funny...i like!"
15 minutes later...yes i shorten the story...i have to use the same line again.
"listen....i want do bisiness with you...i have many projack in Senegal..u come with me...u meeting my ambassador in Abu Dhabi...bery nice man...bery friendly..he tell you ok?"I almost dozed off .......then he pulled back one of his sleeves....suddenly I was almost blinded by some BIG SHINING OBJECT!
"What the heck is that?"
"You like? we can make money together!"
"Can I touch it?"...Yes I was gullible...but i need to know whether it's a fake!
" hard for you...i honest man..we make money together." By now, I was too engrossed with the watch to pay any attention.
"I think about it and will let you know next week." This is Dubai...

The War Remnants Museum

"The sobering War Remnants Museum was established in September 1975 in Ho Chi Minh City. It contains countless artifacts, photographs and pictures documenting some of the less heroic activities carried out by the US army in Vietnam. Displays illustrate the killing of civilians, the spreading of toxic defoliant, the torturing of prisoners and the effects of the war in the north. Planes, tanks, bombs and helicopters are also on display.Outside the museum are some rooms displaying cultural products of the Vietnamese culture. Over the last 29 years, over six million visitors have entered the museum. Nearly one million among them are from abroad."
A trip to the a lesson in life about the devastating effects of aggression in general. It doesn't matter which camp you are from...religion, left, right or middle etc....when you are in Ho Chi Minh City...DO NOT MISS THIS PLACE! It's a sobering experience for me. (Note: The man at the top...partially blind, lose his limbs etc...LANDMINE)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Watering Hole

The Starbucks cafe in Musallah Tower is my favorite watering you should know by now. Yesterday, that crazy "Eddie Murphy" from Senegal introduced his friend, Issa (same country) to me. I wasn't keen to entertain another "movie star" until he showed me his "big" thing...yes in the cafe! Anyway, will post it once I finished with Vietnam.
One early morning, I requested Mr. Ho to give me a ride on his bike and show me a nice place in Ho Chi Minh City where the locals enjoy gathering for coffee and snacks.
The Serenata is a cosy little cafe only known to the locals...great! It was 8.30am...we chose to sit out...the aromatic smell of vietnamese drip coffee filled the air...the owner was on the piano inside...."Memory" from the musical "Cats". A perfect morning.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Back in Dubai but thinking....

.....of Vietnam. Strangely, I don't miss Singapore at all.
Ben Thanh market has long been one of Saigon's most famous landmark. The market has been in existence since the French occupation. The original market was located on the shores of Ben Nghe river by old fort Gia Dinh. Its proximity to the fort and the river where merchants and soldiers would land was reason for its name (Ben meaning pier or port and Thanh meaning fort). In 1859, when the French invaded Saigon and overtook fort Gia Dinh, Ben Thanh Market was destroyed. It was rebuilt shortly thereafter and remained standing until it was moved to its present location in 1899.
Things are really cheap here....and the best part, quality is maintained. By the way, thanks to drama diva ( ....the photos look "museumsy" right? Try this out at :
Bargaining is order of the day...for the fun of it!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

"Let the wind caress your face..."

"In the wind
you long to be
Far from life's
Feeling the wind
rush through your
Taking you back to
a freer time
When you and the
road felt as one.."

On the first day in Ho Chi Minh client Mr. Vu was kind enuff to offer me a "ride of your life time!" to the exhibition hall. I did that in Bali (riding without a and already tried during my last trip in Vietnam. Angelina and Brad did it too not long ago.

Biking is the main mode of travelling for most in HCM city for now before the proposed Metro kicks off in a year or two. In the midst of chaos...amazingly there is a certain sense of orderliness. Ladies (look at my translator Jasmin), guys, old, of 4 on a bike....etc a common sight...daily on the streets....traffic lights are only for decoration...if you know what i traffic police... dump your safety helmet into the Saigon river. Just not suffocate the rider... hold on to the metal grip behind you. Hundreds of riders will offer you the thrill for an hour thru the city for a mere US$1. Choose your pick carefully...if you are not keen in some kinky massage..."nice boy...nice girl"...just declined the rider politely. Put on your iShuffle...."Living La Vida Loca" in full blast...close your eyes and let the wind caress your face! (The grand old dame...Rex Hotel....a famous haunt for the american soldiers during the Vietnam War)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Yes....Qbar is still there...but bigger and better. Located at District 01 Ho Chi Minh City...within the Opera House. Night life is alive here...beautiful crowd. Back in is not uncommon if you are visiting a club alone (male, female or alien) for those ugly burly bouncers at the door to shoo u away...worst if you are an asian or non's a fact.
Walking around this area..especially in the evening...gave a sense of deja vu.....i remembered the first encounter with tuan viet....the little shoe shine boy...wondered how he's doing now?
Wow....the Opera House looks so grand in the night!
One night....i met another shoe shine boy, Duc.. at almost the same spot I met Viet. For the memory...i let him performed his work. It was well done! Very professional....the 50,000 dong (about 10 dhm) given brought a big smile to his face.

A wonderful Vietnam

The exhibition was a success...and i managed to sneak out during one of the visit beautiful Vung Tau...about 3 hrs from Ho Chi Minh City by car...on a good day. It was raining cats and d#$gs along the way...but stopped upon our arrival.
The client brought us to a nice seafood restaurant by the sea. We had a fantastic lunch....fresh seafood with a few cans of Heneiken thrown in.
The steamed fish...big enuff for a banquet. And the local way of eating it....using a rice paper...put in bits of the meat...add in slices of chilli, spring onion...wrap the whole thing the "origami" way...and before putting into the mouth....dip some fish sauce...yummy! And look at those huge clams! For that sumptous meal.....including 4 more's less than US$25 (total) for 4 persons. Definitely a steal! So how are you.. my friends? I am flying back to Dubai on the 4th July 2007...perfect date.