I am Yellow Bamboo

Or Hoang Truc.
«pronounced hwang joup»

Taking a street-side photo for AsiaLIFE this month, waiting for a bright blue truck to move out of my frame, we whiled away the time at a local coffee shop, consuming iced drinks and chatting with the locals. When I say “chatting”, I mean, of course, that Dana was chatting as she has the gift of the Vietnamese gab.

Eventually the three mild mannered, middle-aged men got around to asking what our names were. Of course ‘Kendra’ is far from simple for the Vietnamese to pronounce – lack of consecutive consonants in the language. It usually reduces to ‘Kenza’ – of which I have become rather fond.

They decided I need a Vietnamese name and proceeded to list some of the names I’ve heard 10 times a day here: Phuong, Hoa, Huong, etc. Then they decided I should have a flower-related name.. ugh. Eventually we settled on ‘Hoang Truc’ – if only because it was as far from a flower as I could get AND it has the word ‘yellow’, which everyone knows is my favourite colour.

Henceforth, you may call me Hoang Truc, Kenza or Yellow Bamboo.

In other news, Oli and I have had make-overs:

Charlie the trucker, lost in the moment

 Gustave and crazy eyes (Orange is the New Black)

 Also, finally got some lotus flowers. Lurvely, though they died the next day. Lame.



Seen in The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Very hipster-chic, petite VN girl sits in the not-so-comfy brown vinyl chairs. Shortly followed by a similarly hipster-chic, petite VN guy.

He brings their whipped cream caramel ice blended cappuccino frappe god knows what drinks. They proceed to play with their smart phones, not a word exchanged.

I think, “Hm, kids now a days, out together and what’re they doing, stuck on their phones, not even interacting. What’s the point?”

But wait.

Wait wait wait.

They suddenly start taking selfies. SELFIES!

They’re not even doing a couple selfie – they’re sat right next to each other taking solo selfies. Preening, multiple angles, clothing carefully modelled, hair in different places, various pouty faces. Selfies.

Oh my word. This generation.


..andddd he’s resumed his self-photoshoot. He’s worse than the girl is. I can’t even say that’s surprising given the body image expectations of males today.

She Sells Seashells

..by the roadside.

Had a wee evening out with some lovely VN colleagues last night. Intriguing food, good banter; all Tet-talk, boy-talk, food-talk.

Three venues, all very different.

  • Shell.. creatures
  • Perfect hangover breakfast food
  • Decadent coffee-frappucino-ness

I can see why the Vietnamese go home so early and don’t necessarily go out drinking all the time – what are you meant to do with your bike??? Gotta drive everywhere, so lots of drinking isn’t really conducive to.. being alive.

Wake-Up Call #2

Lying in bed, trying to get a few extra minutes of sleep after alarm went off, receive a 7am call from the middle-aged Vietnamese man

– who gave you free ground coffee, told you about his wife and kids and four companies (one of which supplied coffee for a chain in VN), who hit on you and who inevitably asked to drive you home –

asking if you wanted to have coffee with him this morning. No, I have work. Come this afternoon then. No I’ll be at work all day and I have meetings in the evening (lies).

Also, putting aside the fact you’re married and almost twice my age, please don’t speak to me at this hour of the day and expect to get anything affirmative.

Dinner at the coffee place in which I met him. Was colourful but not amazing.




Have just had my designer get me a coffee from the smoothie place downstairs.

He came back up empty-handed, “It’ll be here in a few minutes.”

Shortly after, this contraption arrived.


That’s a drip-coffee thinger dripping gloriously strong espresso-like coffee into a shot glass of condensed milk, sitting in a cup of hot water.. Presumably to keep the coffee warm while it’s filling up.

Quite decadent. Almost tastes like I’m drinking melted chocolate.

Hangover cure, wayooo. (All you can drink wine, beer and snacks for $10USD? Yes please – though ended up being a very expensive night at about $20USD total – my perspective of money has gotten even worse; I find myself getting annoyed if a meal costs more than $5USD.. it’s outrageous.)