May you live in exciting times

Little could demonstrate the impact of the web on our lives  more
than the  birthday wishes I have been receiving here in Saigon

Budist candles

Viet Nam NewsHere I am sitting in the famous Caravelle Hotel across the boulevard from the Continental and the Rex which were so prominent in the "old media"  during the Viet Nam War, and lo and behold the birthday wishes come flying in, and Emily Dooley of the Cape Cod Times contacts me about a story she's writing on the effect of the blogs on cctoday on the local body politic (see COG, they are reading your stuff).

But the "old media" is alive and well here in the former capital of French Indochina. On the left is my birthday's edition of a free, English language newspaper which reads pretty much like most U.S. dailies.

20% of this nation is now wired, and  the irrepressable commercialism of the Asians is obvious in the millions of mopeds and countless shops in every city we visit. Viet Nam had 3 million visitors last year and the U.S. ranked in 2nd place among them.

The candles above are burning in a Buddist Temple in Saigon, and the newspaper heralds a typhoon which struck yesterday here killing 20.

No big deal - a year ago we left the beaches in Goa, India a couple weeks before the tsunami hit, and the last time we visited Haiti we were highjacked with an Uzi stuck in our belly for hours.

The Chinese curse "may you live in exciting times" has special meaning to my noble wife and myself, and we shall return - I think.

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