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in In Plain Sight

In Hanoi, the Vietnam Museum of Nature Is an Inquisitive Child's Heaven

Amidst the dull, grey buildings of the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, a giant dinosaur model stands out. The T-Rex was guarding the entrance to the Vietnam National Museum of Nature (Bảo ...

Paul Christiansen

in In Plain Sight

An Ode to Saigon’s Chò Nâu Trees

It’s too cold for chò nâu to grow where I’m from, but we still gave it an English name: dipterocarp.

in In Plain Sight

As Science Advances and Stigma Fades, Quy Hòa Leprosy Village Seems Frozen in Place

Many of the images conjured by the word leprosy (bệnh phong) can be unsettling to some. Yet, the misunderstood disease exposes the capacity for human care and empathy. Quy Nhơn’s Quy Hoà lep...

Paul Christiansen

in In Plain Sight

Notes From the Hiking Trail to Catch the Morning Sun in Quy Nhơn

Do you prefer a view of the beach or mountains?

in In Plain Sight

Go Through Centuries of Ceramic History at Hanoi's Bát Tràng Museum

The Pottery Museum in Làng Gốm Bát Tràng (Bát Tràng Ceramics Village) showcases the cultural heritage of the village through its exhibits of the works of past and present artisans.

in In Plain Sight

The Unbearable Delight of Watching a Live Football Match at Hàng Đẫy Stadium

“The government sells it for VND100,000. Just give me VND150,000. Gate 3, right in the center.” 

in In Plain Sight

Amid Phố Cổ, the Unassuming Cultural Exchange Center Tells Stories of Hanoi's Heartland

In the heart of the Old Quarter, the Hanoi Cultural Exchange Center carries a rich repertoire of knowledge and stories of the city’s architecture and history.

in In Plain Sight

Hanoi's Literature Museum Is Not Neglected, but It's Not Thriving Either

From the side road of Âu Cơ Street, I turned into ngõ 275.

in In Plain Sight

How a Plane Carcass Became a Museum and Community Hangout in Hanoi

The massive chunk of metal greeted me as soon as I stepped through the gate.

Paul Christiansen

in In Plain Sight

Retracing Biệt Động Sài Gòn Hideouts, Where Grenades Were Just Below Your Feet

Elements of Saigon’s wartime espionage efforts once relegated to secret basements, hidden crawl spaces and elaborate double lives lurk throughout downtown to this day.

Paul Christiansen

in In Plain Sight

Saigon's Mobile Laminators Preserve ID Cards, Licenses, and Occasionally, Memories Too

How much would you pay for a memory? What is it worth to ensure that you’ll forever be able to recall a certain moment of happiness, important gathering, or achievement? What if I told you that all yo...

Paul Christiansen

in In Plain Sight

Finding Fun and Revelation Aboard Saigon's Wayward Waterbus

Cement, clay, clapboard, spackle, rebar, piping, plaster smears, paint drips, pencil scrawlings: to witness the rise of a building, observe its innards, is to marvel at the pretense of an ego, for wha...

Paul Christiansen

in In Plain Sight

A Case for the Coexistence of Convenience Stores and Tạp Hóa

What is VND1,000  worth? t’s not enough to buy a piece of gum, boiled egg or phone call. You can’t even park your bike in most places for that pittance. I imagine many people step over a dropped 1K note on the street rather than make the effort to stoop down to pick it up. And yet, a few days ago, 1,000 đồng meant the world to me.

Paul Christiansen

in In Plain Sight

On Loving the Saigon Zoo Despite Its Flaws

We’ve all wanted something we can’t have. Something we can see but can’t touch. Something dangled in front of us but just out of reach like an especially succulent apple growing on a branch inches ...

Paul Christiansen

in In Plain Sight

In Defense of Bảo Tàng Địa Chất, Saigon's Most Underappreciated Museum

By (un)conventional standards, Saigon’s Geological Museum may warrant a score of 1.3/9, but if one considers it as a source of whimsy, it’s a solid 8.2/9.