Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam + Derweze, Turkmenistan
Alison and Lulu recorded this week's episode just like they did the previous one, before 9 am, without having had any wine. This makes them feel off their game a little bit. Alison sounds really chipper this week, because she felt like last week they sounded so very tired, so she's making an effort to counteract the early hour with a "skip in her step", so to speak. Lulu didn't think they sounded tired in the first pre-9am episode, but rather quite serene and peaceful. That's because she knows how zany they normally sound, and she is anxious people won't relate to it. I think we can all confidently say we enjoy the zany. Carry on then, ladies. Or start a sing-along about opposites attracting. That works too.
Alison nearly didn't share, because her obsession is a food and it is definitely not in her keto diet. Lulu makes her feel accepted by sharing a recent diet cheat story. Alison doesn't feel as accepted as Lulu laughs boisterously when Alison says she bought an ice cream cake log from Publix. It's her obsession/guilty pleasure. Lulu's obsession is also food-related, but it is Keto-friendly. Just the Cheese bars are her go-to snack right now.
Alison is wishing hard for the Gybson leather sectional sofa from cb2. She commissioned our producer Ash to redecorate, and after deciding on a mood board, was given a list of options for her first, and biggest purchase - a new couch. Of course she wants the most expensive one. Lulu implores her to wait to buy the nice couch she wants until after her 4-year old isn't so rambunctious. Since said 4-year old recently wrote her name in sharpie on the wall, Lulu may have a point. Alison's going to wait until her living conditions are more suitable to leather maintenance. Or maybe there is a leather cleaning service? Alison and Lulu decide there should be a subscription leather service that comes in to clean and condition all of your leather furniture and items. They come up with some really great names for this business idea, including "Birds of a Leather" and "FairLeather Friends". Let us know your ideas on the 10K Dollar Baes group page. Lulu wishes she could watch intense things by herself at night. Her Netflix queue has gotten reeeaaaalllly long, all with things that are too suspenseful or intense for her to watch alone. Alison suggests she watch those things while she's on the treadmill. It'll be sure to get her heart rate up!
This is 10K Dollar Day's first trip to Vietnam! Ho Chi Minh City was formerly called Saigon, and is still called that by many natives. Lulu stays at the beautifully fancy Park Hyatt Saigon. She gets the Presidential Suite, and is excited for the walk in closet, the butler, and the bathroom mirror TV. She gets a "first class" car and driver through MyDriver. Breakfast is at Pho Hoa. Did you know the popular dish is actually a breakfast food? And it is one of Lulu's favorite meals so she is very happy about this $4 breakfast stop. Full on pho Lulu heads to the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Show. Lulu forgot to look up what a water puppet is, but we'll tell you here. The stage is set up to where the puppeteers are waist deep in a pool of water, hidden behind a screen, controlling the lacquered wood puppets in a way that make it look like they are moving over the water.
For her lunch, Lulu heads to a meat and produce market to wander around before heading for her lunch at Anan Saigon. “Anan” means "eat, eat", which she is happy to "do, do". At this restaurant you can order in advance a $100 bahn mi and a $100 pho. She is here for this, as the bahn mi comes with truffle, caviar, and wasabi dipping sauces, and is washed down with two glasses of prosecco. The pho comes with the restaurant's handmade noodles, and along with a poached egg - one of Lulu's favorites - you get raw meat to cook in the boiling broth in front of you. This sounds like a don't-miss dining experience! Now she heads to see Teh Dar at the opera house, which seems to her to be a cirque-style show about ancient Vietnamese tribal cultures. Of course she bought three seats, so that there was no one sitting on either side of her. To end her day she takes a private street food motorbike tour. A short albeit exciting and culturally immersive day. And pho for two meals. This one's a win.
Alison didn't even know this place existed, though Lulu did, because in another life she studied political science, and the 'stans - the central Asian republics - were her area of study. She's obviously very proud of Alison for her choice for this week's 10K Day. Alison picked this place for a very specific activity, though when she realized that this city in the middle of the Karakum Desert had only 350 inhabitants, and only has two Airbnb options. And they left much to be desired. So she had to get really creative and figure out a unique way to create a luxurious place to stay in the middle of nowhere. Wait for it...she rents a Gulfstream V ultra long range heavy jet plane from SexyJet. It has electromagnetic blackout shades, food service, and a lounge area where you can leisurely sip on a cocktail whenever you like. Alison googled how much a private jet would cost, and then because she only wants it to hover in the air for her to sleep in when need be, she guesstimates that she is going to drop eight grand on this ridiculously luxurious "hotel in the air".
So now to the reason she decided to go to this area. To give you a hint, Forbes.com describes the locale as follows - "there are no roads and guided paths, no fences to protect at its edges, no souvenir shops and cafes – just desert and fire". So, in 1971 geologists were drilling and accidentally tapped into a cavern of natural gas. The ground collapsed creating a 230 foot crater. Because the natural gas is poisonous, they decided to burn off the gas. They clearly did not know how much gas they were dealing with, as this crater is still burning today, 48 years later. This is quite a sight as you can imagine, and has been dubbed by locals as the Door to Hell, which Alison takes a tour of that "dares you to get close enough to take a selfie". Alison heads to the So Spa at Sofitel Oguzkent Ashgabat to unwind after going to hell and back. She's going to get as many of the spa services as that $1,000 will cover. Refreshed and relaxed, she heads to dinner at Merdem, which she thinks is a restaurant but is actually a catering company. Who knew the devil had a personal caterer at his doorstep?
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