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Reviews by rollingbolus

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rollingbolus reviewed CAMA ATK about 75 months ago
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Fine venue in a fine part of the town. Good music, good events, good cocktails, lovely staff - everything you'd expect from the CAMA peeps.

Sure, some of the drinks are pricey, but they're goodnstrong and, I think, will help (swallow by swallow) pay for CAMA to bring over more international artists - either to the bar itself or one of their festivals.

One thing concerns me: the amount of methane produced by the patrons. I hope CAMA will do something about this.

rollingbolus reviewed Cafe Ven Ho Xua about 80 months ago
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What the blue dandylyon said. Nice, chilled spot on the shores of West Lake. Sit under the trees, listen to old music floating out of the cafe and, if you're lucky, watch the illuminated golf balls hit by the posh set fly like fireflies into the water.

p.s. take mosquito repellent

rollingbolus reviewed Noi Bai International Airport about 88 months ago
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I have taken your complaints into consideration, and have decided to build a new, better airport, which will be completed sometime in 2012.

rollingbolus reviewed Hanoi Rock City about 89 months ago
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This is exactly the kind of place that Hanoi needs if there is ever to be a real, vibrant and visible music scene. It's a great space with a huge outside area, smaller rooms with the potential to be used as exhibition spaces or wotnot, and a properly soundproofed area for bands. As a punter here I've always been satisfied, and having played here with my band I have to say I can't wait to play here again.

The owners are lovely people with a genuine passion for music. They're also aware of the small teething problems they've had e.g. the lighting, sound issues, and sometimes running out of drinks. But each time I've been back anything that might have been a problem the previous time has been sorted out.

So far there's been a nicely eclectic mix of bands and it feels like that's how it will continue. Not to have a dig at Freebird, but although I'm not into large groups of people sitting on the floor either, a campfire yokel vibe done well can be a good thing, and you can't expect Rock all the time just because it's in the venue's name. That'd be like going to Tet bar and expecting there to be an omnipresent tree of forbidden orange fruit in the corner, or complimentary cold boiled chicken with each drink. Every style of music should be welcome, as long as it's played from the heart rather than the head.

My hope is that more young Vietnamese people discover this place and see bands there that either make them think they could do better themselves or inspire them to be as good, but either way feel compelled to start bands knowing that they have somewhere of the right spirit to perform whatever (hopefully loud, weird and beautiful) shit that they come up with.

Viva la Rock City nhe

p.s. t'ain't Janis Joplin on the door of the girls toilets, it's Patti Smith

rollingbolus reviewed Sohot about 100 months ago
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SoHot - interesting choice of name.
Perhaps alluding to its nighttime role as a set for budget porn films. Which, if it were true, wouldn't be surprising considering the decor.
Plush seats, plastic chandeliers, and funky floral wallpaper. And all this in spitting distance of a cathedral. Sinful.

There's a lot on the menu and the meals my friends ordered seemed good - mine was ok if a little chewed up and dry. The food comes on massive plates, dwarfing the portions and eliciting a sorrowful 'oh' from the mouth of the diner, but I guess this fits the style of the place. This disappointment doesn't last long however as portions are enough and great value considering the price.

What the fuck is going on with that toilet though? Seriously

rollingbolus reviewed HeartLink about 101 months ago
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I've used these guys a couple of times now and have had great service both times.

The first time I'd designed business cards for printing; they were ready very quickly (can't remember exactly how long as it was a while ago but quickly all the same) and printed on good quality card - a box of 100 cost around 50/60,000 I think.
Recently I tried to design something large for printing onto canvas, couldn't do it, took it to HeartLink and now I have exactly the design I want.

The director, Mr Hai, is very welcoming and speaks fluent English, which was a great help, especially when it came down to tweaking the recent design by email.

rollingbolus reviewed HSBC about 102 months ago
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HSBC HSBC how you confuse me. I mean I was pleased when I found out that they were here as I bank with them back the the motherland, but I've had mixed experiences with them here.

I set up an account with them primarily for the purpose of transferring money back to my English account, naively assuming it would cost much less than if I tried to do the same at ANZ or the like, who I don't bank with. It turns out that it's roughly the same.

However, I did find them very helpful last year?? can't remember exactly when, whenever it was the economy was supposedly entering meltdown, it was impossible to buy dollars and the gold shops were being emptied by locals in motorbike helmets. HSBC, after initially telling me that they were legally bound not to transfer any of my dong out of the country, relented after much keening on my part.

A pleasant and speedy experience awaits you inside their doors. The staff all speak excellent English, and there's no pissing about or overlong waits that you might find in other banks. It is like being a newborn child cupped in the hand of a benevolent, all-knowing banking deity.

Recently though I had a confusing experience. I applied for an ATM card, got it, and when registering it in the machine, fucked it up, whereupon the machine swallowed my card. A soothing man soothed me and told me to come back one day with my passport and they would give me my card and a new PIN. I did this, got my card back, but no PIN, as they had to apply for a new one.....5 working days or something like that.

I then totally forgot about this for months as I don't use the account except for transfers, but when I remembered and returned for my PIN there was none. Long and short of it was I had to apply for a new PIN again. Told to come back in 5 working days. I gave them 7 and when I returned for my PIN they said that it hadn't arrived and possibly never would as the bank was in the process of changing everyone's ATM cards from standard to VISA debit, but that I could get this card immediately, then I was told I couldn't have it now but would have to wait and that when I received my new card it would come with a new PIN. A very nice woman then proceeded to explain the lie of the land to me in this conversation: (r-is me, w-is her)

r-when will I get my new atm card
w-I'm not sure, we've just started the process but it will probably be in the next month or the month after
r-and how will you deliver the card, can I come in here and get it?
w-it'll be delivered to your house
r-so i just have to wait?
w-yes, you must wait
r-in the meantime can I have another PIN for my atm card
w-yes but you'll have to apply for a new one
r-that's why I'm here, I already applied for a new PIN, but you won't give me one
w-then you should apply for a new one, it won't take long, i'll get the forms
r-but I don't want to apply again, I've already done that and it doesn't work
w-you should apply for a new one then
r-but if i apply for a new PIN I will fill out the forms, and when I come back there will be no PIN and you will tell me again to apply for a new PIN, and I will fill out the forms again and it will go on forever
w-why don't you just apply for a new PIN? then you can use the card you have now until your new card arrives
r-but I've already done that, that's why I'm here, I don't want to apply for another new PIN when I already know that it doesn't work
w-would you like a chocolate? really.....yes, ok

She then handed me a tiny bag, big enough for one chocolate, from a plate of them set on a shelf. It was 'customer service day' and it was a customer service chocolate.

I told her I would wait for the new card. I'm still waiting, almost 2 months later, and I still haven't eaten the chocolate.

rollingbolus reviewed Pane e Vino about 104 months ago
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Great place to eat. I had my birthday here and the manager, Hoang, and his staff looked after us extremely well and made it a great night for all of us.

Before the meal, I met with Hoang and he put my mind at ease as to the food and cost and everything else; he also gave me and my girlfriend a complimentary wine-tasting so we could decide on the grape we'd be drinking in the evening.

Come the meal, everything was delicious, with a special Italian fondue, and a selection of pastas, pizzas, salads and cold cuts, Hoang also kindly threw in some free drinks and shots. The service was great, everyone ate and drank their fill, and although I remember very little towards the time we left, I was told the next day that the bill turned out much less than everyone expected for such a high-quality experience.

rat rat tot, ngon oi la ngon!

rollingbolus reviewed Love Planet Tours & Books about 104 months ago
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Regularly it seems, in Hanoi, you will find a great new restaurant, start eating there regularly, tell all your friends about this fine new dining experience, and look forward to a future of smiley chewings and satisfied burps.
More often than not, this restaurant, to show their appreciation for your increased patronage will then shrink their portions, raise their prices, and start cooking mud instead of food.

So it seems to be the case with bookstores too. Over the years I have bought tens if not hundreds of books from Love Planet; I gave them a 5 star review on here some time ago. Unfortunately things have changed. Their new policy for book exchanges is to look disparagingly at whatever book you hand them, and immediately start looking for the dates the book was published. They act as if I'm trying to palm them off with a wad of screwed up newspaper instead of well-kept books by Salman Rushdie for example. These people care nothing for customer loyalty, and know nothing about books; I was informed today that nobody buys books published before 2002, and when I replied that that is crazy talk and that people are normally look for titles, authors, and whether the book looks like it's falling apart or not, I was ignored.

This attitude of thinking of books as if they were mobile phones or toasters is now reflected in the shelves which, previously having contained a wide range of very good quality (content) books, are now bulging with newer looking volumes which primarily seem to be written by columnists from the famous shit-smeared corridors of Heat magazine.

I need to find a new, good, book exchange, fast.

rollingbolus reviewed Goldmalt (Kim Lien) about 109 months ago
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"Another micro-brew option rears its mildly bubbly head in Hanoi, and it's ok, just ok. Admittedly me and my housemates went there pretty late on a weeknight so some of the menu wasn't available and apparantly the chef had gone home but what was on offer was pretty mediocre. The pork tasted oddly of dry apricot jam and the muc chien bo was scrawny, tough and greasy. The veg was nice. The beer came in good tall tankards and tasted pretty fine, not as good as most of the other micro-breweries in town but not too shabby for around 35,000 a cup (I think). Service was good, the tables were sturdy and through the floor to ceiling window we could watch drivers skidding through the dark rainy night in their ponchos.

Fortunately we saw no accidents, but thinking of an accident of a different kind I come to the main reason for this review. It concerns a mysterious object, the likes of which I have never seen before. Beer must find a way out eventually and with that in mind I sallied forth to the nha ve sinh to release my beer in the traditional way. Upon opening the 'Man' door I spied a tall metal cylinder on wheels blocking my path to the urinals. But what is this? On its side was written 'Thung Non'. I blinked. Is that...? That means.....could it be? I moved closer to the alien to view the inverted cone, the metal funnel at its top was splattered here and there with fleshy, carroty-coloured wet gobs of something.

Holy shit! It's a sick bucket. Now there will never be any need to spray the walls, ceiling and floor with my partially digest jam-pork should I feel the need. Never more will I clog the urinals with my manly beer chunks. Everything is taken care of.
And this is why it gets 3 stars.
Without sick bucket - 2 stars, with sick bucket - 3 stars"