Monday, February 26, 2007

lack of pictures

sorry for the lack of pictures. my only option is to transfer pictures at a photo place to CD.
I dont have my laptop and most internet cafes dont have CD drives.

There have been hundreds of holga photos shot though.

back to the scene of the crime.

We cruised back to one of the bars last night and the bartender came and shook my hand and said "hello my friend, 2 vodka redbulls for you?"

nothing too exciting just a few vodka redbulls while watching muy thai on the television.

thinking of heading down to saigion soon. then we will probabely take a 2 day train ride back up along the coast to hanoi.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


The question is do i fly back to beijing or take another month and go check out laos?

If i go to laos I can swing down to bangkok and visit my friend gump and fly back to beijing from there.

But if I am in bangkok I can swing over to angkor wat for a few days and take pictures of angkor wat with my holga!

or I could go back to beijing and get started on organizing the pajama party.

or if i am feeling adventurous i could cross the border from laos into china via land head to kunming and take the train to bangkok from there.

so do i go back into china and head to laos later or head to laos now. The one main thing is tommy has got to be back in beijing so I will have to go it alone from here.

english rugby players,hookers,and pickpockets.

So after an exhausting day of sleeping on the beach and... well thats about it. Tommy and I decided to check out the roof top terrace we were told the hotel had but forgotten. We headed up there nd there were 3 gigantic english guys having cocktails. They invited us over to join them and the 5 of us sat around enjoying some beverages on the roof as the sun went down. These guys were fucking hilarious. matt was telling us how "beautiful the weather is and it was like 6 degrees back in england right". sam then said i think thats a bit of an exageration. matt then replies "I am aware it is an exageration sam hence the usage of the word LIKE 6 degrees as opposed to saying it is EXACTLY 6 degrees". anyways they spoke like the characters in the movie SNATCH.

After a few drinks they invited us to meet them for dinner. we rolled over to the rainbow dive center/bar. Its is owned by a guy who is the spitting image of chuck norris. I have yet to see him but it must be true because i have heard there have been reported sightings of both Cuck Noris and Bil "game-over" Paxton all over town.

Anyways we then meet up with a few more people. then headed over to guava a hipster place with decent music where the english guys decide eating was cheating and only the women were allowed to eat. Tommy was talking to them and they told him how they all met playing rugby. he told them i had also played rugby. Once they discovered that we were headed for oblivion.
we head next door to a bar called crazy kims I was introduced to one guy who is a local famous black and white photographers. he bought me a jack and coke. we chatted a bit he did not like the fact that i shot color photos. I explained my camera is a $10 toy camera and that i didn't know what i was doing anyways. He then took us all outside us his vintage 1961 vespa.
He told me to swing by his gallery the next day and he would show me more photos... which i have yet to do because i am still recovering from the rest of the evening.

WE get back to the bar the one guy sam decide he is going to talk rugby we all order a round of red bull and vodkas. which those guys all slam in one sip. fuck. they order another round this time with out ice. which we all slam in one sip. this bar was a bit pricey at 30,000dong a drink so i suggest we head to this other bar for 15,000 dong drinks. Fortunately when we arrive it is still happy hour 2 vodka redbulls for 15,000dong ( 15,000D = $1 ) These guy ordered round after round of 2 drinks each which we had to chug. I belive we each got a round so we had slammed around 10 vodka red bulls each... now it was time to hit the clubs.

We then hit the nha trang sailing center. it is the main hot spot in nha trang and doesn't really gett going until midnight. inside is a massive dance floor and outside is the bach and all the huts and beach chairs. I think we all intially went outside me and sam sat with some girl at her table outside and chatted a bit then her friends came and joined us they were a bunch of vietnamese americans who definately didn't want us talking to their ladies.

I headed back inside found tommy he was talking to these 2 girls i joined them and right away one of the girls came close to me started holding my hand and asked me what hotel i was staying in and how much money i had. NICE. Tommy is very naive and always unwittingly find the professionals. I whisper to him i think they are pro's he insists they are not. I bail on the 3 of them and go back to hanging with the 3 rugby guys. we stay late that night enjoying the festivities. then all decide to stumble back to the hotel.

On the way back we get mobbed be group of special evening ladies. They come up to us start grabbing our crotchs saying you want boom boom. I don't want. they say no problem. I say i have no money they say "no problem". Then suddenly they are all gone.

that is when we all discovered all our money is gone!

we were all wearing board shorts my money was in a velcro closed pocket and they still got it!

I was completely cleaned out everything fromt he pocket was gone. Luckily I dont carry a wallet around just cash. they only got 200,000D but that is still like $12 and a whole days worth of money food beverage, and hotel.

i woke up the next afternoon around 2:30pm feeling like I chugged a dozen red bull and vodkas. I then decided i needed to call in sick to the office... and then headed to the beach and jumped in the ocean.

Friday, February 23, 2007

not much going on.

I don't have much to post.

the schedule:
eat breakfast.
go to beach.
swim in ocean.
swin in ocean some more.
one last dip in ocean.
read on beach.
eat seafood.
wake up.
head to cafe to read some more and enjoy icy cold beers.
eat seafood dinner.
head to 10 cent fresh beer place.
head to cafes for cocktails and live music.
head to nha trang sailing club for night cap.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

last nights dinner

I forgot to mention I ate a barracuda for dinner last night!

current location GPS

n 12.23450
e 109.19480

and thanks to jason I now how to make a map so here it is:,109.194489&spn=22.362474,67.675781&om=0&iwloc=addr

nha trang

I am now in nha-trang. It is a little beach town half way down from hanoi to saigon. not sure what the plan is or what we are doing. just kind of hanging out in cafes reading then getting cocktails at night. nothing to exciting so far which is good because i am still kind of burnt out after meet the robinsons.

I did just finish reading "the sun also rises". it is a great book and will be my bluprint for how to live as an expatriate overseas :-)

I am currently reading "the quiet american" its decnet and one of those generic hippy travel books you can buy a photocopied bootleg copy for $2 on the beach. I gues it is too vietnam backpackers what "the beach" is to thailand backpackers.

Other than that been e-mailing with my buddy Gump in bangkok. he went scad the same time as the rest of us. he is still running his own post house in bangkok and just opened a coffee shop below it. I am going to have to be on the lookout for cheap tickets so i can visit him soon. the last ime i visited him were probabely some of the best moments in my life.

anyways all is good in vietnam but kind of anxious to get back to beijing and start preperation for my st patricks day pajama party. tom and I are having full silk pajamas tailored here in vietnam hopefully with dragons and cougers and shit embroidered on them. you know things the ladies like :-)

TET - New Years Eve

I had never been to a vietnam tet festival before... obviously. It was pretty amazing. We arrived in hanoi on a sunday and I had never seen a city that active with people. millions of people on mototrbike carrying little orange trees on the backs night markets and just general mayham. It was kind of like savannah during new years except nobody was drunk (except for me and tommy ) so we took of to ha long bay did the nature thing for a few days then we arrived back in hanoi new years eve. things were a little quieter when we got back or at least it seemed that way. most of the shops and resturants were closed but that was only because EVERYBODY was getting ready to party.

So we arrived back at our hotel we got a pimp room on the 4th floor with a balcony over looking the streets below. cost of the room $10! we had a few beverages on the balcony while tom called our friend lauren ( see stella party photos girl with brown hair making fish faces with me and tom ) from beijing who was coincedentily in hanoi on here way to laos with her mother. tommy arranged to meet up in front of the cathedral at 6:30. The cathedral is cool its a minature gothic cathedral in the middle of hanoi.

Tommy and i finished our beverages and then went to the cathedral a little early so we could get some beverages before lauren and her mom arrived. We were drinking beers and laurens mom showed up sans lauren and had a beer with us. lauren arrived a little bit later because she had to get the laundry we hung out at the cafe a little while longer enjoying refreshing beverages.

We then decided to head off for diner. we decided to head to the city view cafe for dinner right at the end of the lake. it is a a total tourist trap overlooking hanoi on the fifth story of a building. I think its the highest cafe overlooking the city. tourist trap or no its pretty rad and we had been there before. we showed up and all around they were already blocking the streets and there was a huge stage in the middle of the intersection with some sort of acrobatics show. we had to pay a cover to get in but what the heck it was new years. we went up to the 5th floor of the cafe grabbed a PRIME spot to see the festivities below.

we ordered some beverages then tried to make out the menu as it was in vietnamese. we discovered that because of TET there was no dinner being served just snacks and beverages???
It was now 7:00pm we were starving but the place was filling up and this seemed like THE place to watch the fireworks at midnight. Tommy then bestowed us with his wisdom telling us that beer had food value but food had no beer value. so we decided to get another round of the delicous $1.50 tiger beers that come in .5 litre bottles and dine on fruit platters and spring rolls.

then there were all kinds of parades and festivities acrobatics shows involved lot of menuvers using teeth and flips and trapezes then there were the giant snake shows... big snakes. kind of like that snakes in most people nightmares... or at least the snakes in my nightmares. big scary snakes that contstantly tried to make a break for it into the crowd.

after several hours of festivities laurens mom was starting to get hammered which was pretty rad. we became hungry and ordered more snacks the waiter transalted a dish called "breasts" on the menu he said for sandwiches. we all assumed it was chicken breasts so we ordered it. when it arrived we discovered it was a plate of wonder bread. nice. breasts is vietnamese for bread... maybe.

fireworks went off with out a hitch at midnight. it was very cool over looking the lake were probabely 30 thousand people were watching. they kept playiong some abba song over and over. who doesn't love a little abba every now and then? ( ben doesn't )

afterwards we took laurens mom home. she told us about a bar that she went to buy apple wine earlier that day. the owner said they were closed but was opening after the fireworks and told her to swing by....hmmmmm.

after we dropped her off we bought a traditonal tet rice cake and wandered into some temple we burned incense and said prayers for the new years which was a cool experience. then headed of to bar to eat our rice cake. we stopped at the amazon bar down some little alley and had a few red bull and vodkas to start the evening and enjoyed the rice cake. ( actually it kind of sucked.. the rice cakes not the redbulland vodkas )

around 1:30 ish we decided to hit that bar laurens mom told us about.

the bar was called highway 4. its a bar owned by a member of the hanoi minsk club. the minsk is this sweet russian motorcycle. after a 10 minutes walk we rolled into a bar with about a dozen people inside. the owner came up to greet us and told us he was closed and told us to make ourselves at home and lead us behind the bar and gives us a bottle and some glasses. we were drinking this thick local wine i think is from apples. we did about a dozen shots of this stuff while meeting every one there. we drank heard stories then drank some more. they definatley made us feel welcome.

around 3ish he said it was time to close up and invited us to go to another bar with them. we co accepted the invitations ( of course we did ) and the 3 of us got on the backs of their motorcyles and we were off cruising through the back alleys of hanoi. we got to the bar which was some sweet pub decorated in old communist propaganda. we had a few beers then tom arrived and we got some more beers. then we realized lauren never got there so we made some calls they were up the street at the wrong bar so we headed over there. had a few more beers with everybody. a little after 4 we were partied out ( meaning there were 12 dudes in the bar and 3 girls... including lauren ) and decided to say goodby and roll back. we walked back throught the streets of hanoi and the festivities were still going.

we dropped luren off at her hotel then decided it was time for a swift one before bed. unfortunately by that time the bar we liked was closed down and the other ones were going into 5th gear and wasn't the kind of place to get a quet beverage so we crashed.

all in all a succesful TET festival.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

GPS location

i am currently here:
N 15.880340
E 108.339580

can anyone make anything out of this or tell me how to make a map using this data? I spent like $100 on a gps thinking it was cool and I am think its pretty boring to play with.

sorry for the lack of pictures. I cant really post any until i get back. mostly holga shots.

I had an amazing tet hung out with some expat bikers and cruised around hanoi late night on a russian motorcyle... it would be way cooler if i didn't ride bitch though.

will post story tomorrow i have time in my rigorous schedule of eating drinking and sleeping.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

ha long bay

we just got back from hai long bay which was prettyamazing it was one of those clusters of 3000 tinyislands buried in fog. right out of the movie thebeach!the trip was amazing and only $15/day the unfortunate part was the fact it was me tom and a gaggle of senior citizen couples on a romantic getaway! good thing there were a few escaped mental patients along as well to keep things interesting.

We did have afew crazies on the trip first was a russian i like to call borat jr. he tells he is american that everyone is so shocked that he is russian because he "speaksenglish very nice". he told us how he is down with the"ni!@az" and likes to smoke "the grass". he was even stabbed in the wrist by the "ni&*az". At this I kept looking around the room for cameras to see if i was going to be in a sequel of the movie BORAT.

He also had the table manners of a russian we were having group style dinners sharing many plates. he made sure he got wha the needed before it was to late. breakfast wasespecially nice he took half of the jelly intended for6 people to share and put it one piece of bread. he insisted none use chopsticks and ate handfulls offrench fries yelling for catsup ( which they of course do not have on a boat in the middle of the ocean off the coast of vietnam ) he thought that we were savages for eating french fries with no "sauoce". it was awesome!
unfortunately he was only with us for one night.

The next day natan arrived he was either isrealli orpolish... he had both passports??? he was 62 years old 5'1" and COVERED in faded blue tattoos. he looked likehe would have been a dangerous mofo 30 years ago and 8inches taller. He kept telling us "my friend my friend... do you know where the center of the universe is?.. it is here" he had all kinds of gems of hippy travel wisdom. he kind scared us when he said to us this morning over breakfast: "last night my friend i met a beuatiful girl she was eighteen but when i woke up she old me she 16 years old... but this my friend is not my problem" I then asked where he met her his response "a taxi driver asked me if i wanted to meet a girl so i went with him and he took me to 3 girls i picked 2 for me one liked me very much the other not so i stay with the girl...she wanted to marry me but am free like a flightless bird"uuuhhhhhh-yeah.... not sure what the appropriate response was but me and tommy burst out laughing. insensitive i know but it was so surreal falling under the a little more information than we needed to know category.he then said "the girls always want to marry me but aam so busy and have too much responsibility to myself to enjoy myself" he then said "everywhere I go I have no problem to enjoy myself"other than that it was 3 days of kyaking and hiking in paradise! we are back in hanoi now and it is TET coming up and tonight is the vietnamese new years. weare meeting friends from beijing for dinner then going to see the fireworks at midnight.

all in all so far it is one of the best weeks of my life.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007



I arrived in hanoi. it is amazing. everything is ramping up to the new years and I have never seen so many people on the streets.

the city is old french colonial style and amazing.

yesterday consisted of wandering around hanoi taking photos with my holga. i then took in a puppet show that served beer. a little pho ga for lunch then toook a few hours riding aound in a cyclo. I also scored a sweet pair of skull and cross bones vans for $10.

did i mention bai hoi? the local microbrew bew. I think it means "fresh beer" or some shit like that. i costs roughly 12 cents a pint.

I am off to ha long bay in a few moments.

life is good.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

shot by shot

here is another pic of steven katz. his book is one of the bibles in animation.

beach party pics

tommy, handjob, and myself had quite the housewarming party! a few surprise guests showed up. first was benny huang my coworker from disney. second was steven katz author of film direction shot by shot!

Monday, February 5, 2007

superbowl monday

today was the superbowl. me, handjob, tommy, and nick hit the goose and duck for the superbowl. kick off was around 7:30am. the game was terrible but the beer was delicious. After the game we all went "super bowling". we hit the worlds 2nd largest bowling alley for 4 hours of bowling and post superbowl beverages. I don't know why people hate mondays soo much.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

stanford alumni

My friend tommy went to stanford. he is smart... me not so much. Saturday was the stanford alumni luncheon in beijing. When I heard about the free food and booze I was on that shit! It was rad most people were in shirts and ties. not me. I had a chopper name tag. We were the first ones to hit the bar and the last ones to leave. We also started organizing my upcoming housewarming party. I invited a bunch of wicked smart people.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

hate mail

I just recieved this e-mail. I know. I guess it is easier to turn me into the bad guy than to accept the fact that this girl has emotional problems. ( which is why i ended it with her ). maybe tomorrow i will post the story of how she came to my apartment late at night and had an emotional breakdown for 4 hours then kept stalking me and sneaking into my apartment building.

Hi Ben,

I just heard from someone today that you left the country for good. I
so happy for you and am happy that you are living the dream. got me
thinking about us, since this is the first time after the gallery i
thought about you. and this time it made me mad, mad for wasting my
and everything... it just pisses me off so much. i have nevr been so
at anyone, and therefore just wanted to let you know, that you really
really hurt me. i really thought you were a great guy, but i was so
people had warned me, but i tried to use my best judgement, ofcourse
out your were an .......

besides, it is common courtesy to return someones stuff when you leave
good. atleast you could have messengered me my stuff, its only being
polite. even after i emailed you to ask for stuff. atleast email back,
are so mannerless. i have tto email you and let you know about all
because you should know that what you did to me, with me was so wrong,
so wrong. i am glad that we didnt last for longer than we did, coz
is all i experienced with you. i have never been so miserable and angry
whole life. you brought out the worst in me. and all i only did was be
nice to you, thats all i did. you have made me bitter towards nice
or should i say people who try to pretend to be nice like you.

hope asia treats you well, and hope you have a good life. ahhhhhh...i
screaming to let it out. this is my closure. i dont ever want to cross
paths with you again. never say never. but, i wish to god that i dont
meet someone like you. i am glad though whatever happened, coz things
happen for the best, and the best that came out of being wiht you was
i realized that are shady people like and now i can spot them. you
to drink after this email, go get drunk and i hope you do realize that
really broke my heart.


Today i went to the beijing stanford alumni luncheon. I know. took lots of photos. I might be ceo of an animation start-up. nice.

stella's party

i got the camera running so this post will be a visual story....

bottle of jager

too much too type! me and gordon went out did a bunch of shots. shots in beijing come in racks. you just don't order 2 shots you have to buy a rack of 12. no really. we did a few racks of shots. lots of jager. got drunk went home. details unclear.

Friday, February 2, 2007


I am unemployed full time and there are not enough hours in a day!

a few tsing-taos

another day of leisure.

I still have not adjusted to the time change. I wake up every morning at 6:30am... which isn't exactly LA time? My usual routine is to get some dumplings come back to bed and listen to music until about 9am. I stayed out a little late last night so i woke up at 8 and decided i should write my blog and reward myself afterwards with dumplings. i learned this from the movie adaptation.

The long term goal is to get adjusted to the time so I can train myslef to wake up at the crack of noon everyday.

Anyways yeserday was a busy one. I woke up early and went looking for the camera markets. After an hour of riding 2 subway trains and a mile walk in the freezing cold i found it. It is sooo rad. There are old cameras and new cameras. Canon 5d's for $1900.00usd lots of hasselblad equipment. I found the 120mm makro-planar i was looking for going for the same price mint as a used lens in the states. Lots of slide films but no negative films. I hope to find some type of ghetto chinese negative film with chinese characters in the rebate edge. I also picked up some chinese viva polaroid film.

After that cruised to the electronics market in search of a cell phone. the electronics market is 7 levels tall and feels like the inside of the millenium falcon. cell phones here are way too freaking complicated and expensive. It thought a phone was going to be like $20 and all hi-tech and would play songs then give me massages with happy endings. I ended paying like $50usd for a ghetto no color screen having brick. chicks totally won't dig my phone.

I eventually made my way home met-up with gordon who now goes by the nickname "handjob". ( i came up with the nickname handjob and if the bears win he has to give one). Handjob and I hung out at a cafe sipping on green tea waiting for tommy. Thomas arrived around 6ish then he and I ate a little fried rice then had a few tisng-taos. We then decided to hit poetry night at the whitepeople bookstore. Tommy is the fancy one into poetry i just like hanging out at bookstores that serve beer.

Poetry night has been going on in beijing for a few years. The founder of poetry night is this guy named bob and he is leaving beijing to move to italy with his wife next week so it was an extra special poetry night. I have been to poetry nights before the last time i was in beijing. Its kinda fucking crazy. Bob read some beat poetry that was cool. An older woman around 60ish read some old fashion poetry which was also cool. And one black guy read a poem that was really good. I mention he was black because he had that whole cool miles davis thing going on but with poetry. Other than that everyone else was just shouting the poetic truths of high school journal keepers. The chinese girls at poetry night are the best because they try soo fucking hard but just don't get it. they tend to read things they find on the internet. One girl started to cry because she feels she is brainwashed then read some punk rock lyrics ( when i say punk rock i don't mean real punk rock i mean green day esque punk rock ). Anyways I think they are mostly there to meet whiteboys. One girl said some maoist thing about destroying the past in order to create a new future....hmmmm. The funny thing about that is here in china there is not a whole lot of thinking outside of the box going on and because of that there is no innovation. So the chinese basically destroyed the past and then didn't have the ability think of anything new.

After a few tsing-taos handjob decided to roll home and tommy and i decided to grab a few more tsing-taos. we went over to some music bar and walked into see a chinese band dressed all EMO wearing nightmare before xmas t-shirts sing a power balladesque cover of the song "keep on rocking in the free world". Life does not get better than this!

So after a few more tsing-taos the band had finished playing we decide to grab a few tsing-taos. We headed over to nanjie. Nanjie is a bar that would best be described as a combination between animal house and that fucked up party in the movie "kids" where chloe sevigny gets raped. Broad spectrum of people in nanjie. Its a place where 60yo british business men can grab a beer and 16 expat kids can get WASTED. nice. When my buddy tommy got run over by a truck they had a fund raiser for him.

The thing we were discussing over tsing-taos at Nanjie was mostly chinese rock bands. Its like when you go see a show like the ramones or the specials or some great band you see live. You think wow that is music. Then a few years later you see a group like green day or no doubt which is totally derivative and empty. Well the chinese have only seen the the copy never having experienced the original. And the chinese not only liked it a lot they fucking loved it and at the same time didn't understand it at all. They just liked it because it was shiny.

Tsing-taos are real shiny and I like them.