Paper Robots


The Blue Gecko has been the Aussie bogan’s hangout in Saigon for a few years. I first came here in 2009 to watch footy. Since then I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this very Aussie hangout.

Where once the AFL season took pride of place on most TV screens, price and the big screen was lowered especially, now it’s an afterthought amongst a myriad of far less riveting international sports broadcasts.

The ladies who work at this bar are clearly the more common of the bargirl genre, but in their defense they’re a lot less pretentious and more fun to talk to than their better-presented counterparts at more salubrious locations. The blue Aussie singlets they proudly sport barely cover the very effective padded pushup bra that has become uniform for the average Saigon woman. If you value your hearing you want to keep your conversations brief with these ladies, as their powerful, fake shrieks of hilarity can break glass.

The men that come here? Well, what can be said that hasn’t already been eloquently expressed about the typical foreign long-term resident of Saigon? I’ll just add my voice to that litany of disapproval by stating that most of these guys are married to a young local (believe it or not), avoid her by practically living in the bar, and in between dreary golf or ancient sexual exploit stories, complain to their mates about how annoying she is. They should be sent back to their country of origin for a dose of reality. Many of these fat, hairy, smelly, profane, arrogant, alcoholic no-hopers take every opportunity to grope the bar girls, who perpetuate this gross behavior by delivering a trademark blast of fake delight in response.

So, why am I here on a non-AFL night, or at all, you ask?

Good question. Perhaps it’s the tenuous connection the bar makes with stereotypical Australia in it’s choice of decor, beer, food and music. Perhaps it’s the car crash mentality I seem to have developed about social situations. Maybe I just like to put myself in situations that give me reason to complain a lot.

In a way, Blue Gecko is Saigon’s Ettamogah Pub, for real. International versions of real larrikin characters can be found, the beer is cold, there’s no end of Aussie stuff plastered around the walls and shelves to keep you thinking of home, and they have meat pies. As much as I disapprove of most everything Blue Gecko holds inside it’s nondescript walls, I guess I might love it too, in a begrudging kind of way.

Em Æ¡i! Another Foster’s please.

Posted via email from RockPortrait in Vietnam

Today I said goodbye to a special ICT class I’ve been teaching at VUS. They’ve finished their course, buy and they’ve been the best students one could hope for.

I bought them KFC ice-cream as a reward for working so hard and they enjoyed the break from our workload. The lovely Y Nguyen made me a pair of hearts from a 2000 dong note. I received many beautiful smiles.

I’m going to miss them.

Posted via email from RockPortrait in Vietnam

Optimus Prime - Paper Robot

We’ve been polling the students to find out what kind of projects they’d like to do during the Summer break next year.

One gave me “Paper Robots”, treat and I had no idea what he was talking about.

Then I found this:

Have you ever done these? The internet allows us to make these things so much more easily than back in the “old days”.

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