Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I've spent most of the day on the back of a motorbike looking for apts. My butt is sore from all that sitting on the passengers hard seat. It was very cool getting a bit of a free tour of the neighborhoods. I actually have a bit of a handle on the area. I found several areas where street markets are plentiful with fruit, vegetables, spices and plants. I saw more bonsai trees on one block than I've ever seen in my life. It will be nice having plants in my apt. Which brings me to the good news...I think I found myself an apt. The price is right, it is a tad smallish but the bathroom is a good size  and it has 2 bedrooms a small balcony; and another teacher in our school system living a few floors below (he's also a hasher - 'Shit on a Shingle'). The rent is dirt cheap and its within walking distance to school albeit a long walk - but by motorbike I bet its 10 mins at most. Its in the Cau Giay District (pronounced gow zhii) which is the neighboring district kind of like Covington and Newport in N Ky. And as a comparison of walking distance its like living in Newport near Bellevue and walking to work at the Cork & Bottle. Long but very do-able.
I saw many apts. and finally after I told the guys taking me around that I didn't want to see the boxy boring apts that they were showing me I finally got shown 2 that I really liked. One had the feel of an apt in Greece - right on the edge of the lake, painted white throughout, a sweet balcony looking out over the lake and an unusual shape but,... a pricey rent also. Plus I thought why live in VN and not feel like you're living in VN. I want to live with the locals as much as possible thats how you learn the language and get a true taste of Hanoi. The 2nd apt is in Cau Giay as I said and explained above. I'm seeing one more apt later and then its time to make a decision. Actually my mind is made up but the place that looks like Greece will be my backup plan if the other one falls thru. 
The traffic on a motorbike is quite interesting and I recorded some video of my time on the back of the bikes with the different realtors. It looks so chaotic but there's also some kind of symbiotic syncopation going on that I think I'm figuring out - of course riding with someone and maneuvering thru it with me at the helm might be a whole 'nutha thing. Fortunately traffic moves fairly slow and it isnt too scary until you are in cross traffic, around cars and buses or maneuvering in tight streets with pedestrians and bikes going around and against you.

PS - if you haven't figured it out yet, click on photos to open them up to a larger size
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jcarle on

A little chatter?
How about a little commentary as you are taping? Something like, 'hey lady, get the heck out of the way, a seven foot giant on a motorbike is coming through!' Nice pics/video though.

mrcwoodsman on

Re: A little chatter?
Or how about 'a 7 ft giant yelling at you in a language you dont understand' might be even better, huh?

kwai_chang on

Monkey butt
Biker's term. Look it up. So now you're officially one of the VN Hell's Angels! Great! Bikers' bars! You already have the prerequisite number of tatoos. Please don't give pronunciation guides with what appears to be romanized Chinese equivalents. It's just as confusing, and I have much more fun making up my own pronunciations. Where are the food pics?! You just did that to annoy me.

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