Their goal: to make money, and to do social good.
Acquired recently in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Backstory is here.
Access to Google Inc. ’s Vietnam website was disrupted briefly Monday, the company said, with some users redirected to a website appearing to sell a service used for cyberattacks.
“For a short period today, some people had trouble connecting to google.com.vn, or were being directed to a different website,” a Google spokesman said. “We’ve been in contact with the organization responsible for managing this domain name and the issue should be resolved.”
The spokesman stressed that users’ searches and Google services, like Gmail, weren’t compromised. Users within Vietnam reported that service disruption lasted several hours.
In an apparent hijacking of domain name system servers, which act as virtual address books and help direct Internet traffic, users who tried to visit Google’s Vietnam site were sent to the website, which showed a man facing a mirror taking a photo of himself with an iPhone.
Today’s Wall Street Journal has a story about the legendary Minsk motorcycles ((Long-time newley.com readers may recall that I’ve undertaken three Minsk journeys in northern Vietnam, the first of which was in 2002. My most recent sojourn was for a Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia story that was published in April, 2008. Here’s an image from that trip of me, a Minsk and…a special friend. I can personally attest that the Minsk in an alluring, alluring machine.)) — and the expats in Vietnam who love the Soviet-era bikes. The piece focuses on the Minsk Olympics, an event in which devotees gather outside Hanoi to perform Minsk-releated feats. There’s a slideshow, too. I love the fourth image.
Thanks to the eagle-eyed KB for discovering that a photo I took here in Bangkok in October, 2006 has made its way into an Internet meme ((Related newley.com post: “My Buddy Lands a Deer — A Mile Offshore“; verification at Snopes.com: “Deerly Departed.”)) featuring funny photos of motorcycles and motorcyclists.
Above is the image. Someone grabbed it from my Flickr photostream and added it to this collection of photos purporting to document silly scenes ((Many of the images remind me of “Bikes of Burden,” a book that, in fact, contains authentic images from Vietnam.)) in Vietnam. (Many of the images in this Web collection are from other parts of Asia, it appears.) Someone in KB’s master’s degree program at a Bangkok university forwarded her the email and the images, and KB recognized my pic among the others.
While I’m no stranger to Vietnam, I actually snapped the image above — hat tip to A for spotting the guy that day — in the Bang Na area of Bangkok on a Saturday afternoon. The driver seemed to be transporting the bucket on his head since he had no other way to carry it.
But I like the appended caption better: “No helmet – no problem. I got what I need.”
Followers of my dispatches on Twitter will know that my brother C and I have been in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and the surrounding area all of this week. I have many things to say about this great city. I really love it. And I shall be sharing some images of people, sights, and (most of all) food next week.
We return to Bangkok tomorrow (Fri.) afternoon local time, so if there are any of you in this neck of the woods who’d like to meet up, please email me: newley [at] gmail.com
I have an article in the April issue of Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia magazine about a recent six-day trip I took through the northeast of Vietnam on a Soviet-era motorbike. The issue isn’t online, but if you’re in the region you can find the magazine on newsstands. If you’re in Bangkok, look for it in bookstores and at BTS stations. The article is called “Riding High” and it starts on page 91. Here’s more info about T+L Southeast Asia.
The image above is a pic of me and a friend I met during the trip.
Great story — and images — from New Mandala (which, by the way, is an excellent blog about Southeast Asia):
The Vientiane Scooter Club recently conducted its annual rally from Laos to Vietnam, a journey which saw many of its members rediscover their origins. A group of urban middle class Lao nationals of Vietnamese and Chinese descent, the club members are driven by a desire to find their own authentic place in Lao society.
The club is one of a few new social groups to have emerged in recent years along with greater economic and cultural liberalization in Laos. On their rallies through the countryside they spread a road safety message and donate equipment to rural schools on a painstakingly restored fleet of forty-year-old Italian Piaggio Vespa motor scooters.
(Related: the Vespa rickshaw.)
Bikes of Burden is a coffee table book featuring images of Vietnamese motorbike drivers hauling around enormous amounts of various and sundry items. I saw a copy in a bookstore here in Bangkok recently; it’s fantastic. The author is Hans Kemp, a Dutch photographer. Here’s a gallery of some pics from from the book. This one might be my favorite. Bikes of Burden is available from Amazon here.