Let Me Tell You Some Things

I haven't quite decided yet whether a blog is supposed to be a collection of moving and sensitive and humorous personal essays, each of them singular and separate from the next, or whether it's more like that one long email you send to a friend you haven't spoken to in ages, chock-full of updates and apologies for not having written back sooner. As such, I'm never sure whether you particularly care about the little things that have been going on in my life, whether I ought to go back and bring you up to speed on them even if they've already happened, or whether you're all "hell no, just keeping going in a nice, linear, straightforward line, please. No flashbacks, this isn't a Grateful Dead show."

But seriously, Internet, I haven't even told you about Vietnam!

Vietnam! Let Me Tell You About It!
A few years ago, my mother and I sort of co-founded this tradition of taking a little Ladies Vacation For Ladies together once a year when I was home. Because Asia is so navigable and budget flights so plentiful, we made it our mission to take one Mother-Daughter Field Trip once a year: once we went to Bangkok for shopping, once to Langkawi, Malaysia for sun-worshipping, and once to Hong Kong for, um, more shopping, the result of which was a complete pair of Days Of The Week knickers found victoriously in a bargain bin.

Anyway, this time around we were were all set to go to Cambodia, but flights to Cambodia turned out to be booked solid. And so we ended up deciding on Hoi An in Vietnam instead, which, if you will remember, is the Seamstress Capital Of The World. (Do you think I should work for the tourism board of Hoi An? I mean, that's kind of catchy, no?) Forgetting that this was to be a Ladies Vacation For Ladies, my brother Tom decided to jump on the bandwagon as well, and soon it transpired that we'd be a party of three. What fun we had! We shopped by day and dined by night and stayed in this super fancy hotel my mother had booked which, seriously, I don't mean to be gauche, but it only cost forty dollars a night, and look how swanky it was! Super swanky!

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With a swanky tub!

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My brother's room even had rose petals scattered across the King-size bed, which, you know, was very romantic for him, considering he was on vacation with his mother and sister. Staying in a room by himself.

Anyway, we ate and drank and laughed and shopped and had ridiculously flattering pairs of trousers made, and together with the fact that there was also a man making omelets at the breakfast buffet, this would have been the greatest vacation in the world, were it not for Hideous Cold That Never Ended that I caught at some point on the trip.

My Cold! Let Me Tell You About It!
I mean, alright, I know you're probably hearing a lot about colds around this time of year, and seriously, you're probably wondering just how much mucus talk is too much mucus talk and all that, but come on: are Vietnamese colds of a more severe viral strain or something? Are they resistant to ibuprofen? I've had this thing since January 4th and it's only just starting to go away. And to add insult to injury, it hasn't even been the don't-want-to-eat kind of cold. In fact, it's been the call your boyfriend on the way home and ask him to pick up a tub of Ben & Jerry's kind of cold, AND MAKE SURE YOU MAKE IT THE BIG ONE.

I had even hoped I might look pitiful enough on my flight back to San Francisco from Singapore to score a free upgrade. (Hey, it's been known to happen: once when I'd had a root canal go awry and was thus experiencing the worst toothache of my life---actually, come to think of it, the worst pain of my life, and yes, I know I haven't had a baby yet, so bear with me---some massive twist of fate determined that the pilot on my flight from London to Singapore was the father of some girl who'd once had a crush on my brother while they were at school together. And bingo, my brother and I got upgraded. Of course, I couldn't enjoy Business Class as much as I would have if I hadn't been writhing on the floor in agony---much to the consternation of all the people who'd paid full fare---but still, an upgrade is an upgrade, especially when one feels kind of awful and a long-haul flight is only going to make one feel worse.)

That Reminds Me! My Flight! Have I Told You About My Flight? Well, Then, My Flight! Let Me Tell You About It!
It is never a good thing when one of the three other passengers in your row of four leans over to introduce himself at the beginning of an eleven hour flight with the words "Hi! I have the gastric flu" before dry-heaving into his sick bag for the next hour or two. It also isn't too good when you wake up after a brief nap IN YOUR AISLE SEAT to find the guy sitting next to you gone, because you know what that means? It means he climbed over you. While you were sleeping. Which is sort of creepy, and not in a cute Sandra Bullock romantic comedy kind of way.

Which is why I was so glad when my personal inflight TV system failed. I was half an hour into The Jane Austen Book Club when the picture went blank. Much fiddling around and call-buttoning of flight attendants later, it was determined that my personal inflight TV system was on the fritz. And also that I had missed the other seventy four minutes of the Jane Austen Book Club. And now we must clap Cathay Pacific on the back, because do you know what they did? They moved me to Business Class for two hours so I could watch the whole film, start to finish. Of course, as soon as it was over---I watched it in full recline mode, visiting the bathroom as often as possible to take advantage of the free fancy moisturizer---I had to go back downstairs (the plane had an upstairs!) to my crappy economy class seat, but still. I made sure to stuff a complimentary bottle of Evian and three mini candy bars in my pants before I left.

What Else Haven't I Told You About? Oh, My iPhone! Want To Hear About My iPhone? My iPhone! Let Me Tell You About It!
So I have an iPhone, and I'm kind of obsessed with it. It was a Christmas present from my parents, but of course Sean then had to go out and get one for himself as well, so now we both have matching iPhones, and we have quickly become that uber-pretentious couple you see at the Apple Store, smugly checking the Internet on their iPhones to read reviews of iPhone covers before they buy them. I am not even kidding. Not a bit.

And, you know, I'd show it to you, but I'm just not at the stage where I can let other people touch it yet. It took me two days just to take the plastic covering off the front, three to take it out of the house. God forbid I have to make a phone call on it one day or something.

1
Carol Snider
Jan 16, 2008

Oh please don't ever stop telling us about the little fun (and not so fun... the FLU? Ewwwww!) things in your life! Hell, if I didn't talk about inane stuff like accidentally flushing fish down toilets, I wouldn't have a blog at all!

Keep blogging. We love you!

Carol

2
Loth
Jan 16, 2008

Eek. If I have to produce a collection of moving and sensitive and humourous personal essays to keep my blog, I am screwed. I think it is absolutely fine to blog about toilets and stealing miniature candy bars or (in my case) my son's attempt to make icebergs and the fact that my boiler has gone phut and I haven't been able to shower for......lets say two days. Keep it up!

3
Hank
Jan 16, 2008

An iPhone! CAN I TELL YOU HOW MUCH I LOVE MY iPHONE? Kidding. Not about loving the iPhone, though.

I'm with Carol, one thing about blogs, they're completely individual. Tell us whatever you want to tell us. That's my $.02.

4
Twice Five Miles
Jan 16, 2008

My wonderful husband once got me a first-class upgrade on a trans-Atlantic flight, and oh sweet moses, was that amazing. There was a rose on my seat! And caviar! And a little DVD player in my armrest! And the seat turned into an actual bed, so I could sleep! (Of course I was too excited about FIRST CLASS to actually sleep.)

Three years later and I'm still gushing about it.

5
Teej
Jan 16, 2008

So sorry about the cold; so jealous about the iPhone. I've been insulating myself from iPhone lust because I knew what would follow, and then last night one of my friends whipped out her iPhone at dinner and LET ME TOUCH IT. And take pictures with it. And make that swipey motion. And make that expandy motion. And now I have an iPhone-sized hole in my heart.

6
superblondgirl
Jan 16, 2008

Hurrah for the iPhone! I want one so bad, but really, what would I DO with it, you know? Since I never call anyone or anything.
I'm going to Asia and staying in a fancy hotel for $40 a night as soon as possible - that is just the coolest thing ever.
And, lastly, all the titles of these sections made me think of those LOLcats and I kept imagining you with the various things and the LOL captions and laughing softly and dorkily to myself. That's sort of embarrassing to admit, actually, but whatever. My love for those kitties is well-documented.

7
Amanda
Jan 16, 2008

My iPhone, let me tell you about it!

When my cell phone service with my family expired this December, they kicked me off their family plan since, well, I'm married now and I should probably take care of those things on my own, right?

A few months ago my husband got an iPhone and thought it was the absolute best. phone. ever.

I HATE cellphones, you know, the whole thing about being easily accessible all the time? Like when you're getting your nails done or having a nice dinner and your mother calls your cell phone (which you ignore) and then your husband's cell phone (which he ignores) and then you both turn them off only to turn them on after dinner and find 3 more missed calls, from your mother?

Long way to say that he insisted I have one, you know just in case my car breaks down or I am in need of help. I go from cellphone hater to having this bad boy attached to my hand at all times. The texting! The camera! The map! The speed at which I can Google where ever I am!

8
Laurenne
Jan 16, 2008

The best part of your blog is the everyday stories that may seem ordinary and boring to you but I assure you are very exciting and interesting to us. You have a very cool life! Not everybody gets to travel all over the world! Not everybody gets to live in such an exciting city! I am in love with your life. Will you adopt me? I can clean. And scoop cat poop.

Also - did you and Sean hear about the iPhone updates announced at Macworld 2008 yesterday? Check it out, yo: http://www.apple.com/iphone/gettingstarted/guidedtourupdate2/

9
A'Dell
Jan 16, 2008

Yippeeee! Another 2 iPhone household! You'll love them. You'll invent questions just so iPhone can answer them. It will be glorious.

And, since you have an iPhone and it will go "boop" when I leave you this comment I hope you don't spring out of bed to read it since it's only 630 in SF.

I don't want to interrupt your first night's sleep on the new mattress. :) It *did* arrive, yes?

10
Lisa
Jan 16, 2008

I have never commented here before, but now I feel is my solemn duty to tell you: GET A CASE FOR YOUR iPHONE. I dropped mine in the mall just before Christmas. The screen is shattered, but still works (weird). We are also a two-iPhone household, so now I look at my husband's with envy and resentment.

11
missbeegail
Jan 16, 2008

I love how you turn the smallest details of daily life into funny stories, so keep up the good work. But just be aware that this occasionally leads certain enthusiastic readers of your blog to mistakenly think they are actually friends with you and know you in real life. This enthusiastic reader might, say, be traveling in Seoul and notice that there is a chain of coffee shops called, Holly's Coffee, and think to herself, "I should take a picture for Holly!" Before realizing, oh no, wait, she might find that a little creepy given that you DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW HER AT ALL.

12
Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 16, 2008

No, you should totally take a picture of Holly's Coffee!

13
Caitlyn
Jan 16, 2008

Please, Holly, please stop making me so darn jealous. First the trip to Vietnam, and then the fitted trousers, and then the col...no wait, not the cold. But the Iphone? That has been my dream. Very, very jealous.

14
She Likes Purple
Jan 16, 2008

But what was in the package for Sean (from your flickr stream)?

I love the updates.

15
heidikins.com
Jan 16, 2008

Oooh! Congrats on the iPhone! And gorgeous pictures of le swanky hotel! Makes me want to go to Vietnam!

xox

16
Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 16, 2008

She Likes Purple: it's coming!

17
barbie2be
Jan 16, 2008

holly, holly, holly.... don't brag about the hotel being so swanky and then not tell us the name of said hotel.

i now want to go to hoi an, stay in that hotel, visit forget-me-not and have a new wardrobe made just for me. but i can't do that if i don't have the name of the swanky hotel to stay in.

18
Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 16, 2008

Ancient House Hotel, Hoi An

19
Chiada
Jan 16, 2008

Heeeheeeheee.. The bit about taking 2 days to take the plastic film covering off the phone really struck a chord with me. I'm like that, too. So is my mother, in fact. Over a year ago she bought a mini fridge that has a brushed stainless steel door. It came with a plastic film covering, which she has still not taken off. Because, you know, stainless steel might get a scratch? Or.. fingerprints, perhaps?

20
Sheila
Jan 16, 2008

I'm with the "keep up the chock-full of updates" crowd. I sit here at my computer in Wisconsin, and vicariously travel with you to Vietnam, Singapore and even Trader Joe's.

Why would they make you go back to economy after giving you a taste of Business Class? No one was in the seat, after all. Maybe they saw you with the extra candy bars and decided to rein you in a bit. Still, not cool. The return to four-across and Gastric Flu Man would have killed me.

21
Shannen
Jan 16, 2008

Hey Holly! I'm a looooong time reader but rarely (ok never) comment. But after the last few posts, I just have to say...I am the tiniest bit in love with your brother :) Ok I'm a LOT in love with your brother, where did ya say he worked?? KIDDING!

22
Terri B.
Jan 16, 2008

Grrr ... don't you just hate the colds that make you want to eat ice cream and cupcakes and such? Everyone's always talking about losing weight when they get sick. Glad to hear it's not just me and that there are indeed colds that don't take away the appetite. Hope you are over yours soon.

You made me laugh about not taking the iPhone out of the house!

23
Patrick
Jan 16, 2008

Yeah, what *about* that deal of making you go back to the cheap seats after the movie?

Was there a flight attendant looking over your shoulder periodically to gauge how much movie you had left? Was there someone waiting, impatiently, coughing and clearing his/her throat, because the airline requisitioned his/her seat to you for two hours?

Really, was it any damn skin off their nose to just left you remain for the rest of the flight?

I don't know why that frosts me so, but it does. (I mean, like missbeegail says, it's not like I ACTUALLY KNOW YOU.)

Highly entertaining blog entry nonetheless. Write whatcha wanna write.

24
Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 16, 2008

Yeah, I even pushed my luck and said "soooo, after the movie is over....could I maybe have a little nap here?" And the head flight attendant pursed her lips and said "no, it wouldn't be fair. You're here because your TV monitor was broken and you want to watch the film, aren't you? So you'll watch the film and then go back to your seat." And I was very chastened and said "yes, I totally understand, of course."

I WAS, however, wondering if I could just watch the film over and over again, like MAN, this is the LONGEST film I've ever seen, I don't KNOW why it hasn't ended yet, but I was too much of a wimp to try it. No-one was really checking up on me, though. I totally could have pulled it off.

25
Jorden
Jan 16, 2008

Stumbled into your blog by chance, and i loved it! Will totally be back.
Jorden x x

26
Random Girl
Jan 16, 2008

I will be traveling to Vietnam this coming summer, June and July. If you could e-mail me the name of your hotel, it sounds fantastic! I'll be traveling with another female friend of mine.

On a seperate note, I love your blog. Whatever you feel like writing, I'll read...

27
Kristie
Jan 16, 2008

I really really want an iphone!

And I really really want the bathtub in that hotel room!

28
Raven
Jan 16, 2008

I have a question. I am allergic to shellfish and so have always assumed places like Vietnam to be off limits, since you have been there-do you think I should continue to just assume that?

29
Nothing But Bonfires
Jan 16, 2008

Raven, I'm not quite sure what you mean. Do you mean you wouldn't want to go to Vietnam because a lot of what you'd find on the menu would be fresh fish caught from the coast and you wouldn't want to accidentally eat shellfish? If so, I wouldn't worry about that at all -- I barely like any seafood (I'm not allergic, I just don't like it!) and have always found a zillion other things to eat, both during my most recent trip and over the month I was there in 2006. So no, Vietnam wouldn't be "off-limits" at all. Just don't order anything shellfishy!

If that's not what you meant, I'm sorry. Email me and clarify and I'll try and answer.

30
bente
Jan 16, 2008

I know you've already addressed it, but I really can't believe they made you go back to economy!

31
Chris
Jan 17, 2008

Oh my God. I think that if anyone ever threw up next to me, near me, or in the same room as me, I would throw up to. Dear God I hope I'm never on a plane and someone throws up on me. HA! I meant "and someone throws up." Guess we know what my real fear is.

32
CA
Jan 17, 2008

um. holly dear. THE CLOTHES! ALL WE CARE ABOUT IS THE BESPOKE CLOTHES SHOW US PICTURES RIGHT NOW!

33
jive turkey
Jan 17, 2008

Uh...I promise I'm not some weird hannah montana spam...

Anyway, DUDE, the only thing that freaks me out more than the thought of having the stomach flu on a long flight is sitting NEXT to someone who has the stomach flu on a long flight. I'm glad you at least got a respite of a couple hours in business class!

34
Georgia
Jan 18, 2008

I think a little of "today I did *this stupid thing*" and "this jerk did *this stupid thing on my ride home*", mixed with "once upon a time, I wasn't as old and responsible as I am now" is the perfect blend of bloggie-goodness (patent pending on that phrase, fyi).
Also, you're reading a Douglas Coupland book I've never heard of! I loooove Douglas Coupland!

35
edj
Jan 19, 2008

Ha! Root canals are way worse than childbirth.

36
Maya
Jan 20, 2008

As another member of a(nother) two-iPhone household, I am SO with you on that initial fear of damage via removing the plastic film...once you get over it, though, and buy yourself a nifty case (note: I had the "sport" strap that goes on your arm, it sucked), well, the rest is history. You will never go anywhere sans phone again. To prove this point, I would like to point out that I am commenting from mine.

Loooooove the travel stories. Don't change a thing about this place, we love it as is!!

37
Maya
Jan 20, 2008

PS. To prove my fan(nerd) hood: I've just set your little tree as the icon I use for your "button". Which resides prettily on the front page of my phone.

38
Kristabella
Jan 20, 2008

I’m the same way with my blog. Do people like to hear updates?

Well, I like to hear updates. Therefore everyone else MUST.

Thanks for the flashback! I can just go ahead and throw this LSD down the toilet now.

39
holly's mom
Jan 20, 2008

Raven - Ancient House Hotel, Hoi An Town, Quang Nam Province - www.ancienthouseresort.com but book ALL your Asia hotels through asiarooms.com - dead easy, best prices