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Sunday, May 9, 2021

 Fierce E-Cars Competition & VinFast, Vietnam.

GMC trucks though are powerful but gas-guzzling running machines. Time has changed and a new dawn has come for this corporation as it prepares to get in the "mix" among autonomous e-car players. GM of the US has finally set a goal itself to produce all autonomous electric vehicles by 2035.  GM has been teaming up with Microsoft to accelerate and speed up the commercialization of self-driving e-vehicles. Its startup Cruise prototype has 2 million miles of self-drive testing in San Francisco with backup drivers. Lidar technology together with cameras and perhaps radar are used to assist self-driving capability. Presently, the market for Cruise is on share-driving and grocery delivery. Besides GM, there are other big players, such as Tesla, Honda, and others shown at the bottom of the page.

[Self-driving Cruise]

VinFast has its own e-vehicle plan. It does not have to worry about competing with anyone. As long as the company keeps focusing on 'premium' services and produces good quality products with competitive prices - along with its innovative battery rental approach,  these are all needed to secure a firm footing in the arena of autonomous e-vehicles competition. I assume that VinFast has been aggressively testing its self-driving cars with backup drivers like GM Cruise which has been driven around for nearly 2 million miles in San Francisco as previously mentioned. Furthermore, with deep machine learning, AI, for nearly 2 million miles of self-driving, will the car get better and better in terms of self-driving?

I wonder that before the world completely has self-driving vehicles, there will be accidents that are prone to happen - if not by self-driving vehicles then by other human driving vehicles. When a human driving car hits the self-driving one, will the self-driving be able to function as expected or there may be some software or hardware problems that make it become unreliable?

In any country, especially in the US, human safety is very important for any business. Safety liability is a major concern, and this is the reason why self-driving GM Cruise has been on the road for 2 million miles around the streets of San Francisco. Before any autonomous vehicle is allowed on the road, it must pass that country's regulatory scrutiny.

VinFast self-driving SUVs  - VF e-35 and VF-36 - are spacious and beautifully designed. They look awesome for their competitive prices.

[Exterior of VF e-36]

[Interior of VF e-36]

VF e-35

Following are e-vehicles that are or will be sold in the States soon:

[Hyundai Ioniq 5 coming out on Fall 2021 - estimated to cost about $45,000 - believed to have level 2 capability]

Audi E-Tron, BMW i4 & iX, Chevy Bolt, EV, & EUV, Cadillac Lyriq, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Honda EV, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Hummer EV & SUV, Kia EV6, Mazda MX30, Mercedes EQS, Lexus EV, Nissan Ariya, Rivian 1T & 1S, Subaru EV, and Tesla Model 3, Y, S, & X


Saturday, May 8, 2021

 Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan Province - South Central Coast - Vietnam

What to see and do in this beautiful coastal city of Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan Province of Vietnam?  If you are in water sport, especially windsurfing, then Mui Ne of Phan Thiet is a perfect destination for you. Due to its unique and wonderful location with constant wind, windsurfing is a very popular sport for foreign tourists here. 

[Windsurfing at Mui Ne, Phan Thiet]

Next, let's check out the Lang Chai - the fisherman village of Mui Ne, Phan Thiet. The bustling atmosphere already started very early in the morning where the husband bringing the catch and their wives selling whatever their husband caught on that day. Thus, you should wake up early to witness this event.

[Lang Chai of Mui Ne, Phan Thiet]

I have found out that the best seafood around here to order is either spider crab or squid. You can eat both if you like. I believe they are tastier than other places due to the fact that the seawater here is saltier and its unique water temperature. The prices for this fresh and alive seafood are very reasonable.

[Fresh Squids cut in pieces]

[Fresh steam (spider)crabs]

After a nice meal, you should go to check out Suoi Tien (known as Fairy Stream), located 18 km northeast of Phan Thiet city. Its address is 67 Huynh Thuc Khang, Phan Thiet. It is a soft red creek with a water level just ankle-deep and its surroundings look like Grand Canyon on a much smaller scale. You can walk barefoot along the creekbed, experiencing the pleasant feeling of the soft red dirt beneath your feet.

[Suoi Tien - Fairy Stream]

The next destination is called Bau Trang Bau Sen, the white sand dunes of Mui Ne - one of the three most beautiful sand dunes in Phan Thiet. It costs 15,000 VND per person to get in. Visitors like to play slide down the dunes. Some rent a jeep to drive around or have someone drive them around the dunes. Walking around and watching the spectacular scenery is another preferred option.

[Driving a jeep on the sand dunes]

If you are thirsty, should look for a yellow food truck always available nearby to serve you drink. Drinking coconut juice is wonderfully delicious in the hot weather like this at the sand dunes.

[The yellow food-truck on the left nearby]

If you are ever near Tran Hung Dao St. in the city of Phan Thiet, you can stop by Banh Canh Cha Ca Ba Ly to have lunch or dinner. This well-known restaurant opens late at night and is located at 566 Tran Hung Dao, Phan Thiet. Its "cha ca" is either steamed or fried and when served with Banh Canh - it is wonderfully delicious. The price for each bowl is only less than 1.5 USD.

[Banh Canh Cha Ca]

There is another tourist spot that you want to visit. The Cham Towers - Po Sah Inu was built in the late 8th century to honor Hindu deities.  It is located in Phu Hai, Phan Thiet - on top of Ong Hoang Hill - regarded as an important cultural landmark of the ancient Champa Kingdom.

[The Champ Towers - Po Sah Inu]

[Phan Thiet City, Binh Thuan Province]


Friday, May 7, 2021

 Vietnam, R&D Center of the World?

In the era of Industry 4.0, will Vietnam be the R&D center of the world? Presently, Samsung is right on the plan to build its headquarter of the R&D center in Hanoi, and the building will take 34 months and expected to be completed by the end of next year, 2022. This is the first time that Samsung has ever committed to building its R&D Center outside of Korea. In the past, its R&D places outside of Korea were on lease properties. 

[Samsung's R&D Center under construction in Hanoi - Right side]

The first stage of Samsung's R&D Center in Hanoi is right on schedule - its foundation and underground work just completed. The next stage will be the construction of stories above the ground. This Samsung's R&D Center is a 220 million USD investment, consisting of 3 basements and 16 stories. According to Samsung, when this building is finished, there will be about 3,000 engineers coming to this center to work. They will not only be working on ways to improve products and manufacturing processes but also on areas of AI, Big Data, IoT, and the 5G network.

[Samsung factories in Vietnam]

Perhaps, Samsung will show the trend which other countries will see Vietnam as a center for R&D in the era of Industry 4.0 and other investments in the IT area. Consequently, at the beginning of this year, Vietnam has taken a forward step to start building its NIC or National Innovation Center to attract major international corporations with their experts and scientists to come to Vietnam and set up their R&D offices here. The NIC's five priorities are smart factories, digital media, smart cities, cybersecurity, and enviro-tech.

[The design of National Innovation Center (NIC)]


Thursday, May 6, 2021

 Lam Dong Province, Central Highland - Vietnam

[Beautiful Dalat]

Some people do not know where Lam Dong Province is. But when Dalat - the city of Lam Dong - mentioned, everyone seems to know where it is. The famous Dalat is 4,900 ft above sea level - sitting on the Liangbiang plateau.

Dalat - the city of eternal spring and the most romantic city in Vietnam - is surrounded by lakes, waterfalls, temples, mountains, and numerous beautiful flowers. In fact, it is generally considered the favorite honeymoon destination in Vietnam.

[plants are grown on a real car - sending an ad message from a well-known flower company in Dalat]

[Renting a swan-boat on a lake]

[Visiting "Crazy House" in Dalat]

While in Dalat, you may want to visit its interesting night market.

Dalat's night market is where local artisans like the gentleman above, a worker in a skilled trade, doing his artistic work on pinewood harvested from Dalat's forests.

[Dalat City, Lam Dong Province]


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

 4G in The Peruvian Amazon Rainforest, Viettel - Vietnam

[The broadcast station - very high and huge]

Bitel is the telecommunication and digital service company of Viettel in Peru. It has successfully installed internet and telecommunication services in a far away area of Peru - the Amazon Rainforest. The children of Amazon's families and their parents are very happy to be able to use the internet for their education and entertainment. 

Bitel employees and Viettel technical advisers are committed to Viettel's motto: "Doing Business comes with social responsibility - they go together hand-in-hand."

[Scouting for a proper location to install the broadcast station]

Having internet schoolings that are desperately needed for this far away location like the Amazon Rainforest will definitely create a better future for impoverished children in the Amazon. Viettel believes education will truly help these people get out of the low-income trap. Internet will open their "window" to the outside world, enrich their knowledge, and make their life better for good. In the end, they don't need a hand-out from anyone.

[broadcast station tower - looking down the green forest of Amazon. So beautiful!]

[Amazon Rainforest location - South America]


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

 Phu Quoc, Vietnam - What's new?

[Big soursop looks juicy and delicious]

[Fresh seafood stand]

[Marinated seafood & mollusks ready for charcoal grilled]

[The Green Peppercorn - the native spice of Phu Quoc]

The first thing, we need to check out Phu Quoc Nightmarket to get something to eat.

The next day, we will visit Grand World, the sleepless city of Phu Quoc.

[At Grand World, tourists can take a gondola ride]

[Colorful shophouses on both sides of the canal]

[Family ride on a gondola]

[A beautiful bridge crossing over the canal]

[A couples in good mood dancing on the boardwalk in front of one of the shophouses]

[A standing gentleman is doing opera singing on a moving gondola]

The Grand World visit can take the entire day or more. There are 3 to 5 stars hotels nearby if you decided to stay longer than one day here.  Talking about more days in Phu Quoc, a trip to the Phu Quoc Fish Sauce factory would be nice. There you can learn how this famous fish sauce is made. To have a good quality fish sauce, it can take at least 2 years of incubation time.

[Phu Quoc Fish Sauce factory]

[Fish sauce sample on the right has an incubation time longer than the one on the left. Taste test for customers]

[A Bottle of  500ml Phu Quoc Fish Sauce costs about 4.50 USD]

Almost all Vietnamese know "trai Sim". This fruity product is native to Phu Quoc Island, and people harvest it to make wine and honey out of it. Vietnamese people have claimed that this Sim extract helps their rheumatism and achy joints problem. Let's go to one of its major distributors to see what's available.

[Sim wine as said on the box - manufactured by Bay Gao]

[Sim honey as indicated on the box]

If you feel like having a nice cup of coffee or a meal with a stunning view down below, I suggest you should visit Chuon Chuon Bistro & Bar. If it's at dusk, you will have a breathtaking view of the sunset.


About Me

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As a Vietnamese American - graduated from college here in the US, I want to spend some time in Vietnam - a country I left when I was very young. Because of the war, I did not have any opportunity to travel much in Vietnam, except Saigon and Vung Tau back and forth during those years. Now is the time for me to learn more about my mother's country to appreciate its beauty, art, and culture.

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