Remembering 9/11: A Class Trip to Ground Zero

Posted on by Noah Lederman in New York, Or Bust | 6 Comments

911: Ground Zero, 10/03/2001.

When I first started teaching in Queens in 2005, my high school students knew about the September 11th attacks. After all, they had lived it. They remembered the terror that filled their New York City classrooms, the fear in their parents’ eyes when they picked them up from school, the inescapable newscasters interrupting their regularly scheduled broadcasts.
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Bumpers, Butts, and Bamboo Trains

Posted on by Noah Lederman in Asia, Somewhere | 1 Comment

Bamboo Train Battambang Cambodia

We were barreling down the twisted railway tracks on a Cambodian bamboo train when up ahead, a blue truck came into view. Its big steel bumper hung over the rail line. I tried to shout something to prevent my wife from being decapitated, but fumbled the words and never got the chance to warn her. The driver of our bamboo train refused to slow down and the truck’s bumper grew bigger. Luckily, seconds before reaching the blunt guillotine, the truck driver went in reverse.
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Video: Monkey Like Banana

Posted on by Noah Lederman in Asia, Somewhere | Leave a comment

Angkor Wat Monkey

The last time we visited with the kids of Angkor Wat, I taught one little girl a killer strategy to improve her sales–the favored knock knock joke. The problem is that not all of the kids took my advice. In the first video of a young lady trying to sell me bananas for the monkeys near Angkor Wat, her approach was to whine until I bought her produce. There was one kid, however, willing to take his salesmanship to the next level–see video two. He sang me a song about monkeys and bananas in order to secure me as a customer. (If you’re having trouble viewing any of these videos, just click on the link here.)
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Speaking Vietnamese

Posted on by Noah Lederman in Lost In Translation, Or Bust | 2 Comments

Vietnamese Protest in Hanoi

The Vietnamese alphabet has less letters than the English alphabet, but each of their vowels has quite a few tones, which makes the language very confusing.

For example, the word ma means ghost, cheek, tomb, rice seedling, butt, or horse. It just depends on your tone.

Similarly, hii can mean two, funny, harmful, sea, or scared.

How confusing would it be to say the following sentence in Vietnamese?

“I was scared when two harmful seas converged.” In Vietnamese, it would sound like this: “I was hii when hii hii hii converged.”

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Crawling the Cu Chi Tunnels

Posted on by Noah Lederman in Asia, Somewhere | 1 Comment

Sealing Up the Cu Chi Tunnel

One of the best day trips in Vietnam is the Cu Chi Tunnels. Though nearly one thousand visitors descend into the Cu Chi netherworld each day, during my visit, I didn’t sense the crowd.

“What a crazy bunch of devils,” the narrator on the video said of the US military. Here, one must remember that the Viet Cong are seen as the “heroes.”

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