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Dear Douglas,

Every country possesses some interesting dishes and traditions. Asia has many dishes that make me look twice. My Vietnamese work colleagues look wearily at my lunches even though they consist mainly of chicken or fish and vegetables.

A rare literary and botanical gem recently came into our possession. It’s a 1990 collaboration between the World Health Organization and the Institute of Materia Medica, Hanoi. It’s 400 pages, in English, and contains a wealth of information about Medicinal Plants in Viet Nam.

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As expats, most of us at some point have experienced interactions with our hosts that are hard to understand. At times our worldview can seem askew to that of local people.

Tramcar or streetcar systems were developed early in the 19th century to address exactly the same issues as we have today. The problem then was just as acute as it is now, just on a smaller scale. Their introduction forever changed those cities that adopted them, especially Saigon at the end of the 19th century, a metropolis which is still struggling with its public transport. We can see today the disruption in the city caused by the construction of the first — of a hoped-for eight — metro lines. We can look forward to years of similar pain.

When Vietnam’s National Assembly passed on Nov. 25, 2014, the long-awaited amended Housing Law that finally addressed the issue on foreign ownership of property, we in the real estate industry had no idea what to expect.

During the summer, silly season media outlets tend to report on the goofy or frivolous simply because most law courts and government administrations are not in session and everyone’s on holiday. There’s usually just no big (read: important) news.

“The full heat of the ripening season was upon us like a millstone, crushing the juice out of everyone.

Vietnam is the second biggest producer of coffee in the world. Americans drink approximately 400 million cups of it per day. It is the most socially acceptable and popular drug in the world; coffee is big business.

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