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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Da Lat Things to Do: Night Market is a must.

     Lets face it. There's not much to do in Da Lat at night but to sleep. Sure, a few western style bars have sprung up, but Da Lat is still primarily a Vietnamese tourist town and we all know the Vietnamese love night markets. Do they? I don't. I've never been a fan of bright lights at night. They make me feel confused and grumpy. My eyes just don't adjust well to bright lights at night. But there's really nothing else to do but to experience the night market food.

    Lets get one thing straight. Unless you're looking for cute key chain toys and what not, there's not much to buy at the night market. You can get some random shirts and warm clothes, but the quality won't be up to par with what you're used to. This place is a place for food.

    The number one thing I recommend that you try while you're in Da Lat are the warm drinks with fried dough like banh tieu. I recommend the warm fresh soymilk and the artichoke tea. The first is a staple with carbs and the latter is great if you want something light and perfectly sweetened. I even got a chance to try the mung bean juice too by accident. I didn't plan to order that, it just came out after I pointed in a bunch of directions. Either way that felt like it was too plain to really enjoy, and plus I was already full from eating a big dinner earlier. This video was shot directly after the last video's dinner scene where I walked away. You can tell by the same clothes that I was wearing.
You can find these stands closer to the main road away from the market. I believe there's a Lotteria or something right around that corner from the market. Oh, and make sure the fried goods are fresh. They tend to be a little bit stale because they sit out a lot.

   I also recommend that you check out some oc or shellfish if you haven't had any yet. There's something extra cozy about eating oc in cool weather- weather cold enough to see your breath. It's really magical to see the steam rising from the shells as your taste buds get ready. They know what they're in for. They definitely can't wait. I tried some oc mo for the first time. They were pretty rare and I've yet to see them commonly sold in Saigon. They were chewy, but spell binding. We also munched on some scallops too. Keep in mind, we were really really full at this time.

   The second thing we ate at the night market,but was edited to be the last thing was the do hu or the sweet tofu in ginger sauce. Now, I've made videos of this before, but I've never eaten it in front of the camera. This is simply my favorite dessert. I just love it for its texture and sweetness. But, in all honesty, I really feel appreciated of the fact that I was able to eat it on a red plastic stool next to a woman who made it with her own hands next to her cart in front of the Da Lat Market.  This was definitely worth it for the travel alone.

     There's other Vietnamese food you can try too. The chicken porridge is popular. I don't know how fresh the meat actually is though, but you might get lucky. Steamed corn is also pretty common here, as some random BBQ grilled skewer carts. I also recommend the banh trang nuon- especially the one with Laughing Cow cheese. Now that's a staple hit. I wrapped up the video with a quck banh trang nuon scene. Don't worry, we'll film and talk about banh trang nuon a lot more coming up.

Anyways, thank you guys for watching. As always be sure to like the video and share it with friends for me. It'll really help grow my channel so I can produce more and more videos for you guys.

Milestones, numbers, social media, and the state of things.

     I haven't had an update like this in a while. A few milestones have come and gone. And things are changing for the better.

     I'm working on a website. I want to make this a better experience for visitors. I want KyleLe.net to be the brand that it deserves to be. I'm opening my door to new interests and potential sponsorship and collaboration. If I want this to grow, if you want to see more and more Vietnam videos, then I have to focus more on the business standpoint. Unfortunately, I'm a horrible businessman, nor do I like business.

    I got Snapchat. I didn't want to, but I got it. And almost immediately, over 150 of you followed me. Thank you. Snapchat is going to be your direct source of contact with me. I'll post updates in the STORY mode and you'll get to see things as they happen in Vietnam and in other countries that I might visit. So be sure to follow me on there if you want to see a more personal and intimate life of mine.  @KyleLeDotNet

     Instagram is approaching 3000 followers before I make my 300th picture post. The growth has been so rapid and I've worked really hard to have the best gallery as possible. I'm proud of that Instagram account. @KyleLeDotNet

  Google+ has remained relatively steady since I havent been that active on it due to time constraints. But so far we're reaching 950 followers and over 1.6 million profile views. I probably won't have that much time to devote to it any time soon.

   Facebook has exceeded 6,000 real organic likes. Don't let Facebook likes fool you, many of which can be bought easily. Thank you to the 6,000 or so people to actually clicked like and to follow me. Facebook is where you want to be if you want write me or hear news first. You get exclusive contests and prizes from time to time. You also have some extra perks only possible on Facebook and not on YouTube or anywhere else. http://www.fb.com/KyleLe.net

   Patreon. Thank you thank you to the patrons who donated money. Every single dollar counts, and so far we've reached around 160 dollars a month. Patreon deducts a service fee that leaves with around 145 dollars or so. Nevertheless, it's still a welcomed thing and definitely helps with transportation and food costs. Remember, everything I make off of YouTube, I put directly back into video production. If you enjoy and appreciate the fact that I'm a creator, then please consider donating a few dollars a month. http://www.patreon.com/KyleLe.

  Spreadshirt. I haven't had much time to design any new shirts or anything like that, so sales have been very minimal, but still- some of you continue to send me pictures of yourselves wearing my shirts. Trust me, if you want to be my friend, you better buy my shirt. It helps. Either way, I don't make much money from each shirt. But every little bit counts and helps me. By the way, to date, there has been over 30 purchases from the store. http://www.kyleledotnet.spreadshirt.com 

   YouTube numbers are perhaps the best. I remembered the day when we reached 10,000 subscribers. That was a big deal. We even bought a cake. Today, we're going to hit 34,000 subscribers pretty soon and over 13 million views total already. The crazy thing is that 15,000 of you come from America
By December, I'd like to hit 50,000 subscribers. Fingers crossed and long nights of editing great content coming up.

   A YouTube channel with 2.5 million subscribers is coming to film a musical comedy movie in Saigon along with Vietnam's two most famous female rappers next week. I will be helping to produce this. If you followed me on Snapchat you would know exactly who they are. But stay tuned to my Facebook for all the updates.

  In part with the above experience and filming, there will be a meet and greet with OldBoy and myself with the above people sometime next week. If you want to come, send us a message on Facebook.

   I had a one week working relationship with a local TV station in Southern California to air my videos weekly. However, we couldn't agree on creative control, so I walked out of the deal. This has taught me never to rush a business deal and that I would never ever work with Vietnamese TV stations again. I'm very serious with what a do, and I'm not going to sell myself short for some exposure. This is an art and craft, not merely just videos.

thank you guys. The next few months worth if videos are going to be the best yet. Its really exhausting to edit, but it's also very rewarding to know you guys are enjoying the end product.

As always, please share my videos with your friends and family if you get the chance.

 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Eating bugs is okay in Vietnam: Da Lat's Cricket Farms.

   I've always wanted to visit cricket farms as soon as I heard about them many years prior. I knew that Da Lat was experimenting raising crickets, and this time around I wanted to see them myself. A few years earlier, I was in Da Lat, but failed to see them due to the distance from the city center, but after having been disappointed and rejected from seeing the sturgeon farms, I wanted to see some kind of farm that wasn't veggies or flowers.

  To get here, just head towards Elephant Falls. It's on the same way on the same road. Most taxi drivers should know about it. Xe om is another option. Though, I recommend just taking a taxi and having an itinerary for the day in that direction. Don't stop at the flower market or the flower farms though, it'll be a waste of time. Trust me. It's alone the way, but it's just basically a giant store that sells some flowers in a very commercial and western way.

  Just walk in like you own the place. When I came in one was there. There was no ticket entry fee. I wasn't sure if I was even allowed in. Nobody said anything, so I just went in. This was just merely a house off of the side of a road with a sign declaring it a cricket farm. The owners live in the front, while the crickets graze all day in the rear in large vats big enough to raise koi fish in.

   Surprisingly, it didn't smell that bad. The noise level was okay though. It wasn't as bad as you might think. It was a well designed area. The air circulation wasn't that prevalent, but the cooler climate didn't provide annoying humidity and the cricket cages were kept relatively clean.

  At the end of it, you can sit outside and eat some fried up crickets and pay 10,000 Dong a person.
Yes they were worth it. They tasted like sunflower seeds. You couldn't taste the guts or anything like that. They reminded me of freeze dried crickets that they sell for reptiles. You might cringe at the thought of eating bugs. But to be honest, a lot of people in the world already eat bugs. They're actually cleaner than stock animals that roll around in their own poop. Crickets are also high in protein. I wouldn't want to snack on them all the time, but I wouldn't mind eating protein bars made out of them. Just something to think about... Anyways, come check it out if you're in Da Lat.

and check out the video in the meantime. Be sure to share it with friends if you enjoyed it. .

I also have SnapChat now. Be sure to add me! KyleLeDotNet

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Phu Quoc Travel Video has arrived and updates.



This took way longer than I had expected. Then again, you're getting two days worth of footage compiled into 15 minutes. This is probably one of the better SoJournaling Vietnam videos and likely one of the last. The last one filmed on the Sony RX100, that's for sure.

I wanted to give you guys a quick update of life and life happenings.
I'm on the preliminary stages of working on a website for my content.

I'm going to be working with and supporting a YouTube channel with 2.5 million subscribers who will visit Saigon at the beginning of September. Whether or not I'll actually be in their video, who knows. But you will get a chance to meet me and OldBoy because filming will take place at certain public and live venues. Stay tuned to my Facebook Page at http://www.fb.com/KyleLe.net
to get the full details on when and where this will happen. It's happening September 2nd btw. I'll let you know more details about who these people are. You might not know them by name, but you more than likely have seen or heard their videos.

A local TV station in my hometown of Garden Grove has contacted me and wants to begin airing my videos to their Vietnamese American audiences in Southern California. What a true honor. Not only do I get to tap into a market whose demographics I don't have (50 to 75 years old), but the exposure is exactly what I need most right now. Just the recognition alone from the station director is beyond surreal to me. In the future there will be some collaborations as well, but for now, I'm planning to let them use about ten or so videos, one video a week to feature in their travel segment show.

Asia Food Network's Amazing Food Challenge has reached out to me. Unfortunately, I don't think I will participate because this show features physical challenges as well as cooking challenges, which I can't do either. But the cool thing is that the show takes contestants all around the Philippines. But, once again, just to have producers reach out to me has been an honor.

PandaBed decided to extend their #bestinternship2015 deadline by a few weeks. The second and hopefully final deadline is fast approaching. I'm really hoping to win this and to have a chance to travel with Tien again. I think the channel and you loyal viewers would love to see that. Either way, I feel quite confident in our chances. Just let the numbers do the speaking.

I just wanted to thank everyone who followed me on SNAPCHAT @KyleLeDotNet
You guys are the best. Thank you thank you. I was against using snapchat at first because I didn't want another social media thing to bother me, but it's been awesome reaching you to you guys and just your support has been overwhelming. Thank you thank you.

And thank you to all the people who I've met in person the last few weeks. I've honestly lost track of how many people have recognized me. But the amazing thing is that more and more locals are recognizing me. The other day at the supermarket check out line someone took a photo of me. Some one even recognized me in Nha Be District. Just some really awesome times. Thank you guys so much.

Speaking of awesome times, videos with the new NX500 camera are fast approaching. The summer of Ngoc begins. Moving forward you'll see some amazing amazing videos. I can't wait to edit them all for you and of course, Ngoc will be in almost every single one to some extent.

Thank you guys.

http://www.facebook.com/KyleLe.net Like my Facebook to be up to date
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Follow both, you won't regret it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A morning of errands.

     I went to FV Hospital for the first time this morning. They have an online appointment system that seemed efficient, until I got there. Being Monday morning, the hospital was packed with people. I'm aware that cheaper clinics exist and many of them are in District 1. However, this was an emergency blood test procedure so I needed it done ASAP. When I got there at 7:30, 30 minutes before my appointment, I had to fill out some papers and they gave me a blue membership card. Then I proceeded to the waiting area and that was an interesting set up. I've never been to a hospital where I would see a common general practice doctor like that before. So it wasn't long before it was my turn, but of course they weighed me first and then checked my blood pressure.

    I'm the heaviest now that I've ever been in my entire life. At first the nurses said my blood pressure was border line high. I was kind of alarmed, but not surprised much.

    When I saw a French doctor, it wasn't easy to communicate. A lot of words were lost in translation and in the end he checked my blood pressure again and said that it was fine and everything was normal. I liked that a lot. I was a nervous wreck. All of my doctors have been Asians.

    The blood test didn't last very long. The nurse was pleasant and I cracked jokes. She asked me who I came with. I said I'm alone. Then I teared up. It was from the pain of having my life sucked out of me, and not actually having my life sucked out of me. To wrap things up, I was given a cup and told I had to pee in it. Once again, the language barriers I had with my doctor made me pee a river right before the blood extraction so I couldn't pee.

     I drank loads of water. I drank as many cups as I could, trying to take back some money of the outrageously expensive procedure. Once again, I know I could have gotten it elsewhere for cheaper, but I paid to not have to wait in line or to deal with typical hospital BS. And to be honest, there wasn't much difference between a typical hospital and FV. I mean, FV is far cleaner and looks even better than America in terms of its layout and design. The staff seemed friendlier too. The nurses smiled. Typical hospitals nurses don't do much at all. Some of them don't even wear gloves. lol. So was it worth it to pay so much more for the extra AC? I don't know, I just knew that I tried to drink my weight in water so I could get some money back.

       I went into a toilet stall and forced urine out of me. It wasn't enough to fill half like the nurse asked for. I tried. I sat on the toilet. I stood up with my pants down. A dude next to me was taking a dump, so that bothered me a lot. What an unpleasant thing to have to do... piss in a cup, but you can't next to some dude who probably ate some che with beans. 1/4 of the cup was all I could muster up. I walked back to the nursing room and quietly told them my problem. They were okay with it.

     Overall, the experience could have been a lot better. My appointment was largely ignored. By the time I saw the doctor it was already close to 9 o'clock. Everyone was friendly. Staff was helpful. Nobody could pronounce my name. But overall, my biggest gripe has to be about the patient confidentiality. People here talk about their sicknesses and procedures like it was a way to catch up. By the time I finished, everyone in the waiting room knew I had to get a blood test.

      When Nina was sick, I think FV did a great job. I'm sure they're fabulous in their own right. But this kind of premium health care can be found cheaper if you look. Would I ever return? Sure. Lets just cross our fingers my blood test comes back positively.

     By the time I got out, it was already 9:30 and I had an appointment at the US Consulate at 10.
When my xe om driver parked across from the consulate amongst the crowds of Vietnamese people, mostly men just staring at the consulate and trying to get people to go certain places. As soon as I took my helmet off, people started shouting at me. I told them that I got everything taken care of already. I had an appointment already. I already had the forms. There wasn't a need for anything. I wasn't going to go try to work abroad like everyone thought. All the dudes out there thought I was applying for a visa to go to America. Lol to that. They tried to direct me to another building across the street. At first, I kind of followed them, but then my instincts kicked in, and I knew they didn't know what they were talking about. I walked across the street. Presented my passport and they immediately let me in.

      The room was filled with Americans. I was shocked at the amount of people there. So much for an appointment. I handed my paper over at counter three. I had to get more passport pages because I ran out. 82 dollars, btw to get additional pages glued on. The whole thing didn't take very long. I paid within 30 minutes of arriving, and I was able to collect my passport 30 minutes after. One thing I've noticed is that there are a lot of old Vietnamese immigrants who carry US passports, but they couldn't speak English at all. Those were the obnoxious ones. Quite self entitled it seems to their adopted country and not to their motherland. At the cashier, an old Viet kieu man gave a 100 dollar note and wanted the 50 dollar note in return instead of the two 20s and one 10. He insisted that the smaller bills have lesser value when exchanged. Now this is true, but the differences are quite marginal. Certainly not enough to bitch and gripe over. So he stood there for the next few minutes talking out of his ass about things that didn't matter. I felt embarrassed for him.

       All morning long no one could pronounce my name. Not even at the embassy. I was Kee lele, Kelly, Kai Le, Ky leh, Ke Ly Ly. But at the end, the woman who read my name to collect my passport read it perfectly.

       I wanted to work at an embassy for the longest time. I wanted to go to school to get my masters degree (still do) on international relations. But quite frankly, having experienced that environment, I don't know if that's the life that I want. Sure, it's prestigious and I'm sure it's awesome to work in such a powerful elevated position, but is doing paperwork really what I want to do? I don't think I can even do paperwork or even work a stapler.

     I'm in the process of working on a brand new website!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Con Dao Islands in Vietnam: The Right Way to Do it.

    If you are in Saigon and you don't go to Con Dao, you would have made the biggest beach mistake of your life. PS. Nobody is paying me to say these things. I wish some one did.

Con Dao Islands have the best beaches in Vietnam.
Phu Quoc is still the best island in terms of recreational activities, night life, food, and convenience, but Con Dao (Con Son Island) offers much better natural beaches.

There are two ways to get to Con Dao. The first is the long gigantic navy ship from Vung Tau. It takes twelve hours. I'm not into ships, so I opted for the 30 minute plane ride via VASCO Airlines. You can buy tickets on VietnamAirlines.com. For around 120 USD or so round trip you can go to Con Dao and back.

Book your hotels first if possible. If not, no worries. Just land and find a way into town. If you can't find cabs, then you just ask any of the hotel shuttles to take you.

Relax and shut up, you're on an island. Enjoy the breeze.

Now rent a motorbike (someone just came up to me as I walked across the street from my hotel in absolute amazement at how blue the water was).

He asked me if I wanted a bike. I said no. Then I said yes The rest was history. I think bikes were four or five dollars a day.

The touristy beaches are great for their affordable seafood, but I prefer the natural beaches.
How do I find the natural beaches?

Get yourself a bike. Done. Ride around. Done.

If you come to Con Dao, rent a bike! From the tip to tip of the island it took me about 45 minutes of riding and not getting lost before I ran out of road.

After the fact, I usually don't ever dream about being at a place when I write about it, except for Con Dao. I really had a great time. I'm going to post my entire Con Dao series including the playlist down below. If you know what's good for you, you should watch the link. Feel free to ask me if you have any questions over at http://www.fb.com/KyleLe.net

Make sure you watch ALL 5 VIDEOS!

What to do in Hanoi? Duong Lam Ancient Village, no doubt.

     I'm surprised more people don't know about Duong Lam.

Imagine yourself teleported back in time to a place where life centered around farming, temples, and within the old wooden homes that supported generations of life. Vietnam of the past is still here at Duong Lam.

- The best way to get there is to rent a car for around 80 dollars US or so for the day from your hotel. The driver is included. If you're on a budget, you can also rent motorbikes because the road there isn't that difficult. It's just far. Perhaps 3 to 4 hours if you're slow, but a car won't take more than 3.

-When you arrive, likely your car will park outside as you see an entrance. On both sides you might see nothing but green rice fields. The old stone entrance still remains next to a ticket booth. Tickets are no more than two or three dollars. I didn't have to pay anything because I went around the back way without knowing it.

-There's also a restaurant right at the entrance if you're hungry. I didn't get a chance to try it.

-Leave early in the morning to avoid the midday heat.

-After getting your tickets, you can also rent bikes, or you can just stroll around. It shouldn't take more than a couple of hours on foot to do so. There are drinks and little food concessions near the church. But this isn't a typical touristy place. You're not going to find a tourist map here. You just wander and mix and mingle with people who live there. Some houses look new, while it's apparent that others have stood the test of time. Most people focus on shrines, temples, and old homes. Minor signs are around, but you have to pay extra close attention.

-Pick an alley and just walk. You can't get lost here. Just pick an alley and see what you can discover.

-When I was there, I didn't know what was going on. I just stumbled randomly on an old man's house and he gave me a quick tour and briefing about Duong Lam. He has lived here for many generations and his son and grandson will inherit the house. It was kind of interesting to note that his home serves as a tourist attraction. Any time anyone comes in, he has to greet them and introduce the property. Of course, in return, he wants you to tip him and such. I think I gave him 50,000 Dong because I didn't have smaller bills. 20,000 Dong is fine. He was a nice man though.

I also met a younger boy earlier who I wasn't sure what to make of. He was quiet. He wanted to be my tour guide, but didn't know anything about the area. He was on a bike and I was in a car. He did show me some small alleys and what not. He pointed out where I could film a lake. And then he mentioned how he wanted a phone. And I felt like he was a nice guy, so I just gave him 12 dollars to buy a phone. I also bought him a soda to drink too.

And lastly, while the car and driver waited for me in the concession areas, the shop owner with long white hair introduced himself as having family from San Jose. We spoke briefly about geography and what he had picked up from his relatives. He invited me to check out his modest home and look at the pictures of his daughters and their husbands. He was a friendly guy too.

What's this about Northern Vietnamese people being mean and aggressive? Don't judge a whole group of people based off of what your parents told you. Parents need to think twice before they label an entire group of people. If you haven't been north of Hanoi or outside of Hanoi or even to North Vietnam, you really should. And when you're in Hanoi, I recommend visiting Duong Lam to get away from things.

During my brief three hours day to obtain footage, I only stumbled into two other Japanese tourists. No one else was there. Go there. Pictures and video below.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

LOVE GOOGLE+ chat!!



Thursday 7 PM- California Time
Friday 9 AM - Vietnam Time

Tune in for a live Google+ hangouts!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

OldBoy / Yevato's Live Event.

Yevato aka OldBoy is hosting his own LIVE GOOGLE+Hangouts Streaming event
tomorrow 7 PM Pacific Time / 9 AM Vietnam Time. Be sure to check it out with this link underneath
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBuMqWFhfRU
I'll be back to writing as soon as possible.