Friday, January 14, 2011

Trip to Vietnam: Part 1 - "Wondrous Items"

I started my journey to Vietnam by taking a train from Champaign-Urbana to Chicago. I spent the evening in Chicago, and I went to a Dave & Busters and went shopping at a bookstore and a Best Buy. Then I took a cab to the airport and got on a 12 or so hour flight to Narita, Japan, where I would take a connecting flight to Hanoi. On the flight there was a SkyMall catalog, and it was funny to look at all the stuff in it. The primary demographic for this catalog is clearly metrosexual secret agents who have trouble when it comes to science and technology, as is evidenced by the following categories of items, including:

(1) Items that can't possibly work as advertised according to known scientific principles, including an acupuncture device that claims to heal you using the "latest ancient technology" (actual ad phrase), a "Wine Aging Accelerator" that claims to accelerate the aging process of wine by using magnets, and a "Hollywood Cookie Diet" that claims to allow you to lose up to 21 pounds in 13 days by eating nothing but cookies.

(2) Espionage devices, including the Covert Alarm Clock Camera, Covert USB Audio Recorder, Spy Sunglasses, and Cell Phone Spy Recon device. And if you are worried about the enemy purchasing one of these gadgets and using it against you, you can always engage in counter-espionage of your own by using the Mini Handheld Bug Detector.

(3) Multimedia format converters, including the USB Turntable (LP to music file), Cassette To CD Recorder (cassette to CD), Slide And Negative Converter (slides to picture file; I don't know why you wouldn't just use a scanner).

(4) Personal grooming devices, including the 3-In-1 Smart Groomer, HairMax hair laser comb (for only $460, it uses laser technology to help regrow your hair, which is confusing because I thought lasers removed hair), and Home Electrolysis Roller.

Eventually, I got to the Hanoi airport. It was a much smaller airport than either Chicago or Narita. Also because we are in Vietnam all the signs are in Vietnamese and English, and there are some amusing translations. For example, the list of items you're not allowed to bring through security includes spears, scimitars, tridents, and laser guns.


Nanette Goodman said...

Love the skymall catalog items. Can't wait to read about the rest of your trip.

By the way, don't downplay the number of people who may want to bring scimitars on the plane.

Dan Mont said...

I always pack my scimitar in my checked in baggage.