The galactic cat

I switched my camera to high contrast black and white mode to take these photos on my neighbourhood cat. The stones embedded in the tar road surface shone like stars. The cat seemed to be flying across the galaxy. 

The most connected land

Vietnam must be the most connected place in the world. Almost every shop has wi-if and the street vendors parked outside of the shop sweet talk the shop owners into giving them the password. I am also not surprised to see people temporarily squat in front of a shop to get some internet. Most street cafes also have free wi-if, though it looks like the cafe owner is having the most fun.

Kindness of strangers

This morning in my enclave in Saigon, I stopped by a small coffee shop . As I picked up my coffee, I casually remarked that I was hungry - this shop does not serve food, and it was bit too early for the other eateries in the neighbourhood to open. Two minutes into my coffee, a plate of toasted bread and a dollop of cream decorated with chocolate appeared in front of me. The kindly owner explained that she didn’t want me to be hungry. So, she fixed whatever she could. I love free food, feels like home. 

Earlier in Singapore, I hosted a meet at a public library where the participants shared their stories about the kindness of strangers they met in their travels. The world is not too shabby a place after all.

And here in Saigon, I met another coffee cart owner with a bright smile.

The Ritual

To cope with the ever-changing world in which we live in, Paul Mc Cartney sings we be prepared to live and let die. For me, I prefer to have a ritual. For many years, whenever I am in the posh Naka Meguro, I buy a sesame bagel from a small shop. Next, I buy a caramel flavoured coffee from a combini. As I rest by the river, this one pigeon with a missing foot always drops by to pick on the sesame seeds.

Ticket to Childhood

Dear Mom. Life is dull here in the far away land. No one loves me, and I eat boring things.

In Saigon, we met for the LearnCamp - we discussed how to learn better and the latest research in Brain Science. After the LearnCamp we dined at a cafe founded by a popular author. Nguyen Nhat Anh wrote the book Ticket to Childhood - a collection of childhood stories of growing up in Vietnam. 

Long lost friend in an alley

Early this decade, I sometimes ate at this street noodle vendor in Saigon. She always fed me an extra fried egg, and when it rained, she found a dry spot for me to sit. Since 2016, once I started spending more time in Vietnam, I tried to locate her. Locals told me that the neighbourhood authorities had chased away the street vendors, many took up other occupations or went back to the provinces. Today I was in a small alley, and I felt a tap on my arm. I turn around and find my favourite noodle seller. She has a shop of her own now. In Saigon, you should always walk into a random alley. Something magical often happens.