Asia Travel Log #3: Food

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Take a trip with me for a moment back a few years (okay, quite a few if you were in my play group) and recall if you will, your favorite snack or meal. For many it was probably A GOOD OLD PB & J SANDWICH, right?  Mine too. Chunky peanut butter and Welch’s Grape Jelly. Now contrast that against a place where there are not even any supermarkets (or those annoying plastic car-carts American moms squire their little darlings around in).

The Vietnamese eat fresh! As I said there are no supermarkets. REFRIGERATION IS A LUXURY OFTEN CONSISTING OF A RAPIDLY MELTING ICE BLOCK, the water from which somebody will constantly splash over their fish catch in hopes of conserving it until they can sell it. Several people are fully employed in the planting, harvesting and getting to market or the end user, a wide variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and meat. This selection includes many things we have never even seen and most would certainly never eat.

A market we visited in Hoi An, south of Da Nang must have had ten different type of eggs. Some white, some brown, others speckled, and both big and small. There is delicacy consisting of an egg in the embryo form and I am told the most delicious is in the stage just before the feathers are formed. Yikes! Okay, so imagine a young child brought up in Asia turning up their nose at a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I don’t know, somehow it doesn’t wash but I guess that’s just my cultural bias at work. 

What we really did love was going to the night market where in addition to hundreds and hundreds of merchants selling anything and everything, food vendors set up from scratch beginning every afternoon, complete kitchens, prep areas, tables for seating and even bars serving beer, wine or liquor to compliment whatever you are eating. Everything is brought in fresh (in one particuluar instance live frogs strung one on top of another chuckin’ and jivin’ oblivious to their fate), fish in tanks to be cooked to order on outside grills and a ton of different noodle dishes and salads. This market we favored and went to several times in Saigon made a point in print to assure us that all fruit and vegetables were washed with purified water. Same for ice in the beverages. We also had a virtual floor show of activity going on in the street that fronted our table often providing our evening’s entertainment.

Bottom line, you can get almost any kine food in Vietnam or Cambodia -at least in the cities, from the aforementioned street fare (some good some not), right on up to fine dining. It just takes a little adventurism with a dash of common sense to have a great eating experience in Asia and we did!

Aloha, “Mikie”

Mikie Likes It LLC
Realtor Referrals

Michelle Kerr
(Principal Broker/Owner)

Phone: (808) 896-1943
eMail: Mike@MikeSells.com
website: MikeSells.com

Oh, If Only We’d Only Heard You Last Year!

Heard what? “You know when you said don’t buy yet, prices are still going down.”

Oh yeah, I did say that didn’t I? Yep and with good reason. I was seeing it in the MLS every day. The figures were going one direction only and there was no reason to believe otherwise. After all, except from maybe the National Association of Realtors who have to keep up a happy face, the news EVERY day on TV and the radio and in print was if anything, continually more grim than the day before. So I told them don’t buy yet. Prices are going down. That condo you just have to have because it’s walking distance to the beach is gonna be less expensive 6 months from now, and less than that a year later.

Well, they bought it anyway. From me? No, they went directly to the seller’s agent (who naturally, and legally bound by the laws of agency, encouraged what was in the best interest of their client, the seller) and bought the dream condo near the beach.

Okay, fast forward to now, a year or so later. One day recently with some time to kill, I called my friend/client to invite her for a coffee or lunch. She declines, too busy she says, since she’s starting a new job. And then she says:

“If only we’d heard you last year!” i-cant-hear-you.jpg

Yes, our neighbors just sold the same condo for $100,000 less! And our tenants are leaving at the end of the month and now all of a sudden for the first time in years, my husband has no work lined up!”

YIKERS! Well to every cloud there is a silver lining. TALK ABOUT AN OPPORTUNITY FOR A BUYER NOW! That’s right. The market is what it is, but there are some very real buying opportunities (as evidenced by the bump up in sales in December that surprised many) if you are astute enough to recognize them. With the help of a good Realtor who has your best interests in mind (that agency thing again), and who has been closely following the market, you can find these things, and sadly perhaps to someone else’s dismay, score a property that has your name on it.

That’s my Tip of the Day!
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Aloha, “Mikie”

Mikie Likes It LLC
Realtor Referrals

Michelle Kerr
(Principal Broker/Owner)

Phone: (808) 896-1943
eMail: Mike@MikeSells.com
website: MikeSells.com

Waikoloa BOD Lowers The Boom on Walkers

If you’re a golfer and you’re a homeowner in Waikoloa Village on the Big Island, and you’re a walker as opposed to riding the cart, you’re gonna spend more money to play golf at the Waikoloa Village Golf Course starting YESTERDAY! Yep, it’s a fact. And some people are not happy about it! 3-stooges.jpg

Effective February 1, 2009 golf rates for walkers at the Waikoloa Village Golf Course increased by 33%. Several of us attended the board meeting January 27th and tried to reason with them, but we did not prevail. Now instead of paying $15 + tax for 18 holes, walkers now paying $20 + tax = $20.80. I know,

“Cry me a River”

but hey, since the homeowners already pay fees ($584/year) to the Waikoloa Village Association (WVA) I think they ought to get some break as compared to non homeowners when it comes to the golf rates.

But the fact of the matter is there probably is not one single golf course on the island (or most places for that matter) where the golf course actually makes money from their golf operations. They generally make it on real estate. Waikoloa is a little different because it’s truly a neighborhood owned course and there are no developments on the golf course that would in any way net a financial benefit to the Association or it’s member, other than the perceived notion that property values are higher because the community has a golf course. This is great for resale value, but it’s an intangible figure and many refuse to consider it. The rub seems to be that according to WVA board only 12% of the property owners play golf so the Association subsidizes the rest.

Being a Realtor, I know it’s true. A lot of people who buy property here love the fact that there’s a golf course right here, and a good one too. Though it’s a public course, THE RATES ARE GREAT COMPARED TO THE RESORT COURSES! It’s also a boon for the time share condos. Those buyers become deeded property owners and thereby qualify for the best rates. Bottom line though, is the debate will continue and I think we’re going to see a further chipping away at our cheap rates as these economic times drag on.

Aloha, “Mikie”

Mikie Likes It LLC
Realtor Referrals

Michelle Kerr
(Principal Broker/Owner)

Waikoloa, Hawaii
Phone: (808) 896-1943
eMail: Mike@MikeSells.com
website: MikeSells.com