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  • Anything more than H2O in that bottle?

    It’s self-evident that water pollution is a real problem in Ho Chi Minh City, which is why many expats choose to drink only bottled water. What many people don’t know, however, is that the safety and purity of water in a bottle is itself sometimes dubious. There are almost a thousand bottled water brands sold in Vietnam, but less than 0.5% of them have any kind of good reputation. If you have any concerns about the quality of the bottled water you drink, try to stick to the following. “Bottled” and “safe” are far from synonymous. La Vie (Nestlé Waters) VND4,500 (500 ml) / VND8,000 (1.5 l) / VND48,000 (19.5 l) First appearing in Vietnam in 1992, La Vie is arguably the most reputable mineral water brand in Vietnam, accounting for 31% of the market share in the drinking water industry. La Vie ’s water comes from natural Vietnamese mineral water sources and is bottled at factories nearby. Their bottling system follows Nestlé Waters’ proprietary technologies and commitment not to use mechanical processes. Matthias Riehle, General Director of La Vie Vietnam, revealed that there are more than two million bottles of La Vie consumed across the country every day. A ubiquitous product, La Vie can be found almost anywhere drinks are sold. Aquafina (PepsiCo) VND3,500 (350 ml) / VND5,000 (500 ml) / VND8,500 (1.5 l) / VND27,000 (5 l) Aquafina is a well-known purified water brand worldwide, and it was first launched in Vietnam in 2002. Along with La Vie , Aquafina is one of the two biggest and best-known brand names for drinking water in Vietnam. The brand meets WHO standards for its seven-step purification process. Being purified and bottled in Vietnam, Aquafina sample testing is performed monthly by PepsiCo and examined in international laboratories. Aquafina accounts for nearly

  • Hole in the Wall? Hinge off the door? Who on Earth can you call?

    In a country where it’s neither expensive nor difficult to locate a specialist to come to your home to mend something broken, general handyman services are not very popular. This hasn’t stopped the handyman industry from powering up in Ho Chi Minh City during recent years though, providing new opportunities for locals with general practical know-how – and there are indeed firms offering these services in English. What now? The most important thing about hiring a Vietnamese handyman is making your expectations clear from the outset, so that the English speaking coordinators who assess your requirements can communicate your ideas in detail with the handymen who come to work at your home. The handymen will most likely have few English language skills themselves. The cost for handyman services can vary widely depending on how damaged the item is you need to be fixed, and what the cost of any replacement items might be. The first step, therefore, is to invite them to visit and take a look at the problem, so that they can prepare and send you a suitable estimate for the work. Pricing will always depend on the scope of the work. Some reliable handyman service firms within HCMC are listed below. If you don’t speak Vietnamese, give them a call, and after a short moment of confusion, they should be able to produce someone who can speak English with you - email to follow up if possible. This might take a while Sua Nhanh Services: home finishing, home renovation/building, home repairs, general fixing, furniture making/fixing, home cleaning. As a pricing reference, having your wooden/iron/plastic doors fixed should cost around VND150,000. Head Office: 156, Nguyen Van Thu, Da Kao, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | 84 8 62523523 | email Home Fixing/Finishing Coordinator: | Dich Vu

  • When the silicon fails, the world ends.

    Murphy’s law dictates that if a computer breaks, it will do so at the precise moment when you need it the most. While this situation is a big inconvenience “back home”, it can be downright distressing for expats in HCMC who don’t speak Vietnamese. The good news is that there are dozens of reputable computer repair shops all around the city that will have your silicon sidekick up and running in no time. Needs fixing yesterday For those who purchased their computer from one of the major brands, the safest option is to contact the corresponding Authorised Service Centre. Most major hardware companies have at least one repair centre in HCMC, and if you’re still covered by a warranty, chances are that the repairs won’t cost you anything at all. If the issue is not fully covered, major companies have a transparent pricing scheme so you won’t end up paying the “foreigner tax” that some of the local repair shops try to charge. Also, you won’t have to worry about the quality of the repair service, as authorised shops only use manufacturer-certified components. Moreover, authorised centres will stand behind their service and perform additional repairs if the same technical issue resurfaces in the future. The only downside of this solution is that it might take a little longer to get your computer back, because these centres tend to serve a larger number of customers than private repair shops. Acer 53-55, Cao Thang, Ward 3, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | 84 8 38343780 211-213, Vo Van Tan, Ward 5, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | 84 8 39290059 5 Cong Hoa, Tan Binh | 6292 3444 60 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Dist. 1 | 3910 6888 Apple 178-180, Hoang Van Thu, Ward 9, Phu Nhuan, Ho Chi

  • Eat your way around the city, one street at a time.

    By day, the sidewalks of Saigon are filled with parked motorbikes and the small plastic furniture of makeshift cafés. A stream of pedestrians weaves through the maze, going about their daily business: the Saigonese, both local and expat, navigate the streets in a flurry of everyday activity, while camera-toting tourists walk around wide-eyed, trying to fit into the chaos that envelops them. However, as dusk falls on the metropolis and the traffic subsides, the footways and streets are taken over by food carts and beverage stands that cater to the denizens’ insatiable enthusiasm for street food. Much like the shopping streets of Saigon that specialise in one type of goods, there are certain areas here that are known for serving up specialty dishes. Here is your key to the world of Saigonese street dining. Newcomers to the city are always astounded by the sheer variety of dishes that are served in the casual environment of sidewalks and plastic tables. The cuisine on offer starts from standard snacks such as grilled corn and the ubiquitous bánh mì to more elaborate dishes that one would expect to see served at a proper sit-down restaurant, such as cơm tấm or bún bò Huế . Even seafood is unceremoniously grilled by the side of the road and served without the fanfare that is typical of many Western countries. This abundance of choice is deeply rooted in the culture: in Vietnam, street food is not just an inexpensive form of sustenance, but rather a part of the local lifestyle. People from all walks of life converge on the sidewalks lined with diminutive plastic chairs, joined by friends, family, or co-workers. The informal environment is a one-stop shop for relaxing after work, catching up on what’s happening in other people’s lives, and perhaps even having a

  • Snap out of your problems

    Oscillating pocket watches, dizzying spirals, and unsettlingly calm men in black suits… these are the prevalent images of hypnotherapy in pop culture that many of us grew up with. But while public opinion is still largely entrenched in decades-old stereotypes, numerous studies have shown the efficacy of hypnotherapy, especially when paired with psychotherapy. In fact, these days the scientific community no longer ponders whether it’s effective, but rather asks the questions of how (and why) it works. You are walking along a country road… In layman’s terms, hypnotherapy relies on putting the patient in a different state of mind, characterised by much higher suggestibility and responsiveness to the therapist’s instructions. This works by opening up the patient’s subconscious mind, which in turn has a strong effect on changing conscious behaviour. It’s important to understand, however, that the hypnotist does not have the power to make you do something you don’t want to do. All those movie scenes with people stepping off roofs and barking like dogs are pure fiction. In the real world, hypnotherapy is a medical treatment like any other, with a proven record of helping patients overcome conditions that have a debilitating effect on their daily lives. The most common conditions treated by hypnotherapy include phobias, sleep disorders, post-traumatic anxiety, and depression; it is also used to help manage physical pain and help people deal with feelings of grief and loss. Recently, there is also a growing interest in hypnotherapy for pregnant women, as the treatment can alleviate the anxiety caused by pregnancy and relieve the pain of childbirth. Help is at hand In terms of efficacy, the British Society of Hypnosis estimates that some 85% of patients experience an improvement following hypnotherapy, with individual responses varying on an individual basis. Paradoxically, It seems that the actual effect

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