Sunday, February 11, 2007

FBO: 'Free Online Guidebook to Vietnam'

FBO-induced projects are not limited to making music, videos and garnering press coverage for failed bands of most states and provinces.

Member of FBO #001 Tall Tales, Robert Reid, has created a free online guidebook to Vietnam -- well the south of Vietnam, for now -- that is rolling out to the waiting hands of a dozen or more enthused travelers.

A few questions for Robert Reid:

Why a guidebook online?
I've been writing travel guidebooks for over three years now. It's fun, but it takes way too long to get your observations into a book people can access. I was in Bulgaria a year ago now, and Romania in March last year. The hotels and restaurants and bus info I found won't be released for a few more weeks -- even longer for Romania. I visited Vietnam in November and a couple months later, here's the guide.

Do Vietnamese people hate Americans?
Not remotely. It's hard to think of a place where I've been more warmly received than Vietnam. They've had two wars since the Americans pulled out of Saigon in the mid 1970s -- they fought Pol Pot and China. So the 'American War' is three wars old. Also the Vietnamese seem less likely to dwell on the past. The Soviets were their pals for years after the Americans left, the USSR put a lot of money into Vietnam -- and the many Vietnamese can't stand them.

What's best about visiting Vietnam?
If you've ever had Vietnamese food, well you haven't had good Vietnamese food -- unless you've gone there, or have a Vietnamese grandma. Most places don't have refrigerators so everything's that-day fresh. The fruit is scary to look at -- some have thick wavy skins of purple, others spiked in lemon-lime. If something like that falls on you it'll do more damage than an apple. Vietnam is one of the rare places where staring is practically a national past-time. Interested in what the bloke is doing? LOOK AND SEE. No need to avert your gaze if he looks over. So it's fun to set up on a sidewalk cafe -- often just some tiny plastic stools -- and have iced coffee and watch street vendors pushing carts of dried squid right into the nonstop parade of motorcycles weaving around each other and ignoring lanes (or one-way directions). Also, the Mekong Delta is about the friendliest place on earth.

Access the site at

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

1 comment:

Bronc said...

Nice Robo-Ed pic!