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For a trip overseas without leaving the country pics
Old 08-28-2009, 03:42 AM   #1
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For a trip overseas without leaving the country pics

for a trip thats as close to leaving our shores as you can get try a trip into flushing queens ny . for the food and views its top.GOT TO LOVE THE SIGN IN PICTURE 3


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Old 08-28-2009, 07:40 AM   #2
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Fun pictures.

Here's an interesting shot from the Chinatown close to my house. It's a Vietnam War Memorial, erected to honor ARVN vets*. I think half the ARVN General Staff "retired" here after the North Vietnamese won the war. Most of them must have robbed the treasury on the way out or had stashed an emergency fund out of the country that they used to buy small businesses, mostly convenience stores. In the early 80's I knew a couple of ex-generals and a slew of former colonels and majors that were owner/operators of c-stores. Some of them, once they got to know you, would tell an occasional story or two about their former lives. Those guys wielded a lot of power in their prior careers.

* ARVN (Army of the Republic of Viet Nam) was the South Vietnamese Army.

Chinatown Police Storefront:

Here Chinatown, like everything else, is spread out horizontally instead of more vertically like in Queens. This one stretches for 2-3 miles I guess. There are at least three Chinatowns in the city, two are huge, and the original one (near downtown) has been shrinking in the past several years in favor of the newer areas. The newer two are close enough that they might grow together in the future.

Lots of good restaurants, interesting stores and sites. I just recently learned about a Buddhist monk called Cau Chin (Uncle Nine) who gives psychic readings. Not the usual kind of thing for me, but supposedly his readings are different from the usual scam. He starts the readings by reciting a history of your life and its significant events, before he has asked a single question. It's free, although he does accept donations for his temple. I might go see him some day when I'm in the mood for adventure, but there is a drawback to visiting in that the line forms at 2 a.m. and you have to be in the first 60 to see him.

A little farther west, and just outside the big city, is the "forbidden gardens" where they have a reproduction of the Terra Cotta Army of Emperor Qin.


There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it. - Andrew Jackson
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:38 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Leonidas View Post
Most of them must have robbed the treasury on the way out or had stashed an emergency fund out of the country that they used to buy small businesses, mostly convenience stores.
Let's not overlook good ol' pioneering capitalism-- the true American spirit.

My FIL worked with a couple of South Vietnamese CBS camera technicians who repatriated to the Washington, DC bureau via the Saigon embassy roof in 1975.

There were a few cultural issues, like learning that Americans aren't supposed to maintain domestic respect & harmony by beating their wives and children. Once they'd acculturated, though, they were a great part of the crew. As IBEW union members they worked overtime like crazy. They could barely believe that the bosses would pay them extra to work longer than they were supposed to, paying them even more to work on weekends let alone nights & early mornings, and they had decided to take advantage of this good deal before everyone came to their senses.

After a year or so one of the guys asked my FIL whose permission was required for him to buy a home. Apparently RVN real estate acquisition required navigating an unwritten social hierarchy of bribes fees and other indications of respect so he'd been banking the overtime, living way below his salary means, and saving up the necessary cash. When my FIL explained that all it required was a tiny downpayment and a mortgage, incredulous disbelief ensued for several weeks. After some more research they eventually accepted how foolish these Americans were, and they unleashed a real-estate buying binge upon the Georgetown area.

They started out heavily mortgaged (much to their amusement) and from there on they did it all with cashflow. They couldn't believe that my FIL would take a buyout and retire-- why stop working if people will pay you to keep showing up?!? They're in their 70s and probably still working at CBS or at one of the family businesses, hardly able to believe their good fortune at having so much money lying around waiting to be picked up for just a few hours' work.

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Old 08-28-2009, 10:49 AM   #4
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In New York, if you head out to Brighton Beach, you can go to Russia on the cheap, too!

Williamsburg / Greenpoint - free trip to Poland.

Jackson Heights - India/ Pakistan / Bangladesh

The metrocard is a much better deal than an airline ticket, and the show on the train is free!!

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Old 08-28-2009, 12:19 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Nords View Post
Let's not overlook good ol' pioneering capitalism-- the true American spirit.
There were some of them I'm sure, but many of the guys who wound up here were the elite, the guys who were on the collecting end of the bribes being paid back in the old country.

My partner and I took a SCUBA certification class together in the 80's, and three of our fellow students were the regional directors for security for the three major chains of convenience stores in the city back then. When we had to go out of town on an open water dive class one volunteered to transport us in his company car.

The drive was passed with us all telling lies war stories w*rk stories. Having crime fighting in common, and specifically convenience store crimes, which are so often the scene of criminality (police nicknames for two of the chains were "U-Rob-'Em" for the U-Tote-'Em stores and "Stop-n-Rob for Stop-n-Go stores) most of the stories were about what went on in c-stores.

Among the stories we heard, was one involving a family comprised of a former government official and his wife and sisters-in-law who had been movie stars. They had escaped as a group and found there wasn't much work for Vietnamese movie stars or former government ministers in the US, so they purchased a franchise store and were all working there together.

One of the younger sons had made off with several thousands of dollars worth of money orders. His parents came to see the security guy to find out what it would take to make the problem go away. Mom came in the office holding a 3-pound size Folger's coffee can that she held on her lap during the meeting. They were insistent that there had to be some way of making baby boy's legal problems go away without involving police and courts. The security guy acknowledged the family's excellent service to the company, and said if full restitution was made he would drop the charges. Moms smiled and put the coffee can on his desk and indicated he should look inside and take what was needed.

The can was almost full of diamonds.

Another involved one of the ex-colonels who had started with one store and was working his way toward his own little c-store empire. A nasty divorce inside the corporate offices of the chain resulted in a phone call from an executive's soon-to-be-ex to tell the security people about hubby's activities that were defrauding the company. She invited them to her house where she opened the safe and showed them the gold bars that her husband had collected. The colonel was paying him off in gold to grease the skids and cut costs on the purchase agreements for all the company stores he was collecting.

They were an interesting people to work around back in those days. Especially the generals, colonels and what not. Those guys, or a lot of them, had been the power in Vietnam and the smart ones had saved up a few dollars (or carats) of "get-out-of-town" money in case the regime bit the big one. The no-so-smart ones stayed behind to be "re-educated".

Men in those occupations have to have post-regime options. Do you remember the famous photo of the Vietnamese Police General executing a VC guerilla? He "retired" to the US and owned a pizza shop for years.

When I saw the movie The Ladykillers, with Tzi Ma playing the character, "The General" (who owned a donut shop), I instantly recognized the character. I think his cousin ran U-Tot-'em store # 411.

Hilarious, but Not Safe For Work Video follows:

There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it. - Andrew Jackson
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