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Monday, August 1, 2016

We are not City People - but we are now

Statue of Ly Thai To, who relocated the capital from Hoa Lu to Hanoi

Dragons are ornamental and BIG everywhere

Jim, Carolyne and I left our beloved sailboat, Hotspur, in the calm recesses of Savusavu and flew to Vietnam to research money making opportunities. Having spent the past several years on quiet islands with relaxed and laid-back people, it was more than just a culture shock coming to Vietnam.

Rickshaws carrying tourists along Hoan Kiem Lake
A Topiary Herd

Arriving in Hanoi was a jolt. It wasn't just the traffic that prompted “deer in the headlights” expressions on all three of us. It was the total disregard of traffic lights, vehicles speeding down streets in the wrong lanes and the plethora of motorbikes that imitate a swarm of confused insects going different directions in a mad rush to get somewhere. Crossing the street on foot takes a bit of finessing. I've learned to open my eyes now while doing it. Week one I caught the flu, slipped on granite stairs flat on my back and met a cool dude from NYC who asked me to take his English classes while he went on vacation through October. 
Little ladies in conical hats carrying shoulder pannier
baskets makes an iconic street scene

 The flu knocked me down and I stayed in bed for two days straight, unable to keep my eyes open for more than an hour at a time. It started in my head, went into my chest and ended with a grand flu-finale in my gut. Luckily, we found a nice hotel and I sank into the comfort of a cushy bed, air conditioning and a stocked fridge. Thankfully, Jim and Carolyne were spared.

Hanoi Gortage Hotel - $29 a night with French Balcony
A broken water pipe at Hanoi Gortage sent us next door to the
Impressive Hotel... SO nice!! Yes, those are rose petals on our sheets.

Around the corner from our hotel is St. Joseph Cathedral - popular for weddings.

A trip to the History Museum

When I finally WAS able to get out and about, I walked to the grocery store. It felt wonderful to get outside and enjoy some of the daily sites. “Wonderful” lasted until slipped on a wet patch in the grocery store, causing my feet to fly into the air. I fell hard on the edge of the granite stairs, producing a black butterfly in a men's size 12 across the top third of my butt crack. I hobbled out of the grocery store and went shopping for a new pair of flip flops with tread. 

This picture is a small glimpse into Hanoi's "moto madness"
Love the hair - and no hands

Plenty of street vendors
Wearing face masks is common, as is long-sleeved hooded jackets with built in hand covers
 to protect from the sun and dust
Before I left Fiji, I scanned a copy of my University transcript and wrote up a resume to teach English in Hanoi. I also had a scanned copy of my TESOL certificate. But, finding a job for only three months proved more challenging than I expected. Very few (if any) centers want to hire a teacher for short term. Luckily, I met an American man from New York who needed a substitute for his classes through October. It was a perfect fit. Unfortunately, it wasn't a full schedule so I am still trying to find temporary work to fill in the dead days. 
Rickshaw driver trying to drum up business
A street vendor selling trai nahn - or lychee

Jim waiting impatiently for me to scurry across the busy street


  1. And we are here in Fiji, arrived today, Hotspur looks fine. Really looking forward to seeing more of Vietnam. Gracias.

  2. Enjoy Savusavu! Give a big hug to Jolene when you see her.

  3. I don't suppose I could get a few details on your previous boat (Windfall) . . . Or maybe contact info for the current owner ?
    I can be reached at ...