What I brought from the US to Vietnam


Well, it is hard to believe I have now stayed in Vietnam for over 2 weeks now after my 7 week trip to the US.  I have finally got over my jet lag.  I sleep at somewhat normal times now.  I can actually do some real blogging versus the photoblogging you have been seeing for the last couple of months.

This post I want to talk about the three top items I brought from the US that are helping improve my personal quality of life in Vietnam.  They may just be minor things but they are making a difference in my daily activities and free time now.

Oral-B Dual Clean Electric Toothbrush

Oral-B Dual Clean Electric Toothbrush
Oral-B Dual Clean Electric Toothbrush

It may not seem much to you but this electric toothbrush is a life saver for me.  If you can remember my past posts, I am terrified of dentists.  After my last visit, my dentist convinced me to take better care of my teeth.  Since my last dental visit, I actually have thank to this Oral-B toothbrush.

I actually read the reviews for the Oral-B Dual Clean Electric toothbrush before leaving Vietnam.  At that time, it cost about $28 US from Amazon but I was lucky enough to find it for about $17 US at Bartell Drugs in Seattle though I did search for it in Athens, Ohio, and later in California.

I really liked this toothbrush from the beginning.  It actually feels like it is cleaning your teeth and it only takes 2 minutes per session.  My dentist will be happy when I visit her in April of this year.

It was tough to find the replacement heads for this electric toothbrush but I was lucky, Target has some in Lynnwood, Washington.  I had actually searched many different stores (until I realized I could search the store inventories online).

For now, I do not need to worry about my teeth going bad while living in Vietnam.  I just have to pray the electricity does not go out.  I did hear that you may be able to buy this toothbrush here in Saigon.  Not sure though but at least my visits to the dentists in Vietnam will not be as scary. 🙂


Apple iPad
Apple iPad

Yes you can buy this in Vietnam but it is much cheaper, and safer, to purchase one in the US.  Many of you will laugh at me since you all know I was, at one time, anti-Apple.  I considered Steve Jobs in the same league at Bill Gates.

Well not anymore thanks to the Japanese businessman who used his iPad for nearly the entired United Airlines flight from Hong Kong to Chicago.  After that 14.5 hours trip, I fell in love with the iPad.  About a week later in Palo Alto, California, I purchased the iPad and never looked back.

Getting an iPad in the US has many, many advantages.  For one, I NO LONGER had to haul back 20-30 books from the US to Vietnam.  Ebooks make the day and I can use the extra luggage space for other items such as the one below.

Also, no more having to fight the magazines guys in Saigon for a good rate on the Economist or Financial Times.  I can digital versions of both on my iPad now.  There is nothing better than downloading the Economist on my iPad on Monday evenings now.  FT is not bad either.

I download many different apps and TV shows from iTunes.  I did have problems accessing them in Vietnam but I purchased a VPN from iTunes and now I have no problems.  I got a lot of good games and yes, I even use it for word processing, presentations, etc.  I will keep that for another post.

I consider the iPad one of my best buys ever.  It has really made life more interesting for me in Saigon in my free time and at work.  If you have not bought one yet, I highly recommend it.

Ultimate Body Press

Ultimate Body Press Pull Up Bar, Dip Station & Rings
Ultimate Body Press Pull Up Bar, Dip Station & Rings

While I was in Seattle, I started to use my brother-in-law’s pull up bar.  The next day I felt it.  It reminded me of the exercises I did when I was in adult’s gymnastics back in 1993-1994.  Now, in Saigon I do have a gym I can go to but I either have to wake up early or go in the late afternoon when the gym is packed.  Usually after work, I prefer to go straight home.

I wanted to see if I could find one to take back to Vietnam.  As I was researching for portable pull up bars, I came across the Ultimate Body Press website.  What drew my attention was the dip station.  Dips are one of the best exercises to build up muscles on your chests and back.  After reviewing it, I decided to purchase the dip station, pull up bar, and rings.

The difficult task was to decide where to ship this package that weighed about 31 pounds.  I did not want to have to pay $25-35 US each trip for extra baggage so instead, I sent it to New Jersey where I packed it in my luggage for the long haul back to Saigon.

On Day 2 of my return to Vietnam, I assembled the dip station and pull up bar and started my workout.  It has been two weeks now, I am still sore.  This is one of my best workouts I have had in a long time.  It is convenient too, I can come home and start to work out easily.  I will leave the weightlifting for the weekends.

Now, the exercises in the picture on the left may look easy but in the video, you do see his arms shaking.  They are not easy.  These are similar exercises gymnasts would go through.  The dip station takes little space and you can always disassemble it.  The pull up bar fits in the doorway though you better check to see if it is stable.  Mine is not but it can at least support my weight.  More about the ultimate body press in another post later.

Overall, the ultimate body press with the iPad and electric toothbrush may seem trivial, it still amazing at what an impact they can actually have on making me feel better.  Now I am much better focused since I feel much better.

I am curious to see what my readers brought to Vietnam from their countries to make you feel better…


  1. Kevin,
    I tried an electric toothbrush on two occasions and both times my dentists told me to quit because it attacks your gums and the next thing you know, you have receding gum lines which can promote tooth decay. Both dentists told me to go back to a soft manual toothbrush.
    About the body press. I bought one for my son in laws weight room and decided to take it back because of the weight to bring it with me. Also I was thinking that it would be very easy to manufacture and sell over there but I’m sure that it has already been knocked off by China.
    On the Ipad. I think I should get one but I need to find out more about it. Can you get live streams on it? I am so naive when it comes to this stuff. Scheduled departure date: 4/21/11.

    • Funny, back in the early 90s, my dentist wanted me to use the Sonicare toothbrushes. They helped my teeth. They are supposed to be good for your gums as well. I still floss and use mouthwash as well. My teeth look great at the moment, better then in the past.

      For me, I had the weight to carry the ult. body press to Vietnam. I will buy some added weight later as well.

      iPad can do everything. The Motorola Xoom seems to be popular as well.

  2. Kevin,
    Read the voltage requirements on your Oral-B before you fry it. Unless it’s a travel version, the Oral B may not be dual voltage like my Sonicare.


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