Thursday, October 31, 2002

vietnamese nail mafia

Almost everywhere we go, where the possibility of a strip mall or a clutch of stand-alone stores exist, I see a nail place. Normally, in Manila, manicure and related nail services would be a smaller part of a salon’s services. Here, it stands by itself.

The skilled people who work their artistry on your nails, wielding airbrush, nipper and assorted implements of their trade, are almost invariably from Vietnam.

So why my thoughts on a Vietnamese Nail Mafia? Well, they seem to have a monopoly on nail services and have become ubiquitous to the personal care landscape. There is a nation-wide coalition of independent nail places that recruit from Vietnam and then rotate them all over America.

I had a nice talk with Tony from Danang, from Southern Vietnam. He says that he’s been in the States for 8 years now, the last two of which he spent in Olean, New York. He expects to bring over his wife and twin daughters by the end of this year or at the start of the next one.

Apparently, he’s well-paid because my mother-in-law pays $3 per nail – and that’s without the $5 airbrushing service! Hmm. If ever I decide to abandon everything I know and live here, I’ll look into this. There. I’ve added it to my possible new jobs in case the Philippines truly fucks up and there is no option but to leave.

Yes, I’ll infiltrate the Vietnamese Nail Mafia and wrestle control from the inside.

Besides, I’m too old and the wrong sex to be a mail order bride.

food for thought

We had dinner at The Old Library, which, as you might surmise, was once the town library. It was converted to a high end restaurant with a B&B next door. The nice thing is that they retained a lot of the original books as part of the ambiance, so we dined and rubbed elbows with Rabelais, Homer and Kant.

As usual I was defeated by the huge portions of food. I ordered a medium-sized prime rib and what arrived was enough to feed my entire Pipeline staff and myself for an entire week.

Nikki and I fell in love with their port wine cheese.. They make this by mixing cheddar, sour cream and port wine into a light fluff that’s simply heavenly. I gave Sage a taste and her entire little body went into a conniption of exquisite delight – and asked for more.

a comic shop

Nikki, Sage and I rushed through snow to enter Comics Slam! They had Magic cards and other games, plus RPG stuff and of course comics. Nothing to be excited about (in other words, no rare or interesting trades). Picked up a Squadron Supreme TPB I’ve been bugging Vin about though. The one with the author’s (Mark Gruenwald) ashes mixed in with the ink in a macabre example of a writer living on in his work.


I'm learning the differences between villages, towns, cities and assorted collections of people and buildings. I wish it wasn't so cold that the mere notion of taking a walk implies bundling up like Nanook of the North.

I'd like to go where the trees are still orange and gold and haven't given up the losing battle against the onset of winter.

At 4AM this morning, I spotted constellations that were invisible to my side of the world and watched snowflakes fall, limned by the porch light.

Everthing is beautiful.


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