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Posts Tagged ‘ebook

My books of 2010

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I managed to read a fair number of books in 2010, in part due to my new ebook reader which enabled me to easily carry around any books I had on the go.  These are the ones that I got through in the last year, with a summary/review in haiku form for each:

Gary Shteyngart – The Russian Debutante’s Handbook

Eastern European

Gangsters, track suits and cafes

A riotous ending

Gary Shteyngart – Super Sad True Love Story

It is super sad

USA collapses, and

folks can’t spell, just shop.

Vernor Vinge – Rainbow’s End

Folks wear computers

Amine flash mobs, libraries

Destroyed to save books.

Neal Stephenson – The Diamond Age, or a Young Girl’s Illustrated Primer

Interactive book

Neo-Victorians folks

Vast dummer orgies.

Connie Willis – Doomsday Book

Plagues past and future

Time travelling historians

Good ethnography.

Connie Willis – To Say Nothing of the Dog

More historians

Cathedral research their aim

Is history changed?

Connie Willis – Blackout/All Clear

World War II this time

History altered: bad? good?

Historians stuck.

James Webb – Fields of Fire

Vietnam Marines

Running around in the shit

Not a pleasant place.

Hugh Ambrose – The Pacific

Written with the show

The Pacific war is told

But dad writes better.

Eugene Sledge – With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa

Brutal and gritty

The Marines take on Japan

Glad I was not there.

Stephen King – The Dome

Folks turn real nasty

When their town is a fish bowl

Pretty weak ending.

John Burdett – Bangkok 8/Bangkok Tattoo/Bangkok Haunts/ The Godfather of Kathmandu

Sonchai Jitpleecheep

Detective who solves wild crimes

Mom runs a brothel.

James Clavell – Taipan

Hong Kong’s early days

White guy comes and does some trade

Then comes big typhoon.

Slow Going in Vientiane

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It has been a slow-paced four days in Vientiane which kind of suits the nature of the city. On Tuesday we set up a list of photo subjects for my time here. It seemed impressive, but I managed to get through it all quite easily. Generally my days have begun with a fairly early rise and a quite-tasty buffet breakfast (mixed Asian and western food) at the hotel. The PSI driver arrives in his truck and we crawl through the chaotic yet slow traffic to the office where my days were arranged. I covered a whole range of subjects including:

  • Visits to pharmacies to document birth control options (including Chinese abortion pills) and to private clinics with Tick, the team leader from last-year’s malaria project in Attapeu;
  • The PSI warehouse plus the facilities of Diethelm, their new distributor;
  • The “New Friends” MSM (men who have sex with men) drop-in centre, including their new branding plus information and counselling sessions;
  • A new text messaging program encouraging people to get free HIV testing;
  • Wandering the Morning Market looking for moms with kids to photograph for the reproductive health program;
  • TB training for staff;
  • A primitive clinic that provides exams and treatment for female sex workers;
  • Outreach to female sex workers in the Ramayana Hotel karaoke bar; and
  • PSI staff group photos.

A PSI outreach worker educates female sex workers about STIs.

The PSI Laos Team

I am happy to have accomplished all that was laid out for me. I’ve had plenty of time to wander the streets of the central city between shoots or after my day’s work. I’ve had some tasty food, particularly phe (or pho noodles) and café lao, the best of both I’ve decided are on Heng Boun Road, west of the Lao Cultural Hall. I also found really good pad thai at a stall where Heng Boun meets Chao Anou Road.

Phe Noodles from Pho Dung on Heng Boun Road

Pad Thai Stall on Heng Boum Road


I’ve enjoyed finding a good spot to have a café lao or Beer Lao and sit watching street life or reading a book on my ebook reader.

Lao Coffee, tea and an e-book

There’s really not a whole lot else to write about. I haven’t found much personal photographic inspiration here which is probably partly a function of having spent quite a bit of time here before, of Vientiane not being that inspiring, and of the fact that my last two trips – to India and to the Arctic – were incredibly inspiring.