McJob Over

The job doors are revolving quickly at the moment.

One door, the McJob, has closed. Get this – the head teacher told me they needed a more ‘fun’ atmosphere at the school.

Perhaps it might be an idea to put something – anything – up on the bare concrete walls of the classrooms cells? Posters? Alphabets? World maps?

Another idea might be to fix the equipment; The rooms contain only piece of equipment – apart from whiteboard – a monitor, which in at least one room is broken. The air-conditioners in the rooms either didn’t work, or were turned off. With the result that many of the kids were dozing off by the end of the 40-minute lesson.

I could go on, but it no doubt already sounds like Sour Grapes. Let’s just say I’m not upset at being told that I would no longer be required.

Opportunities and Knocks

Meanwhile, another few opportunities are there. A university teacher I met via Facebook who needs IETLS tuition. And a full-time job opening at a Nha Trang school whose door I’m knocking on.

Plus I’ve been peddling madly exploring the huge market for online teaching. I’ve had a few knock-backs, but also a couple of green lights. If I can make that work, it’d be ideal long-term.

That caper is, for me, in its early days.

New boots. No panties

Those above be my new knock-about and jogging shoes.

They’re actually listed on Lazada ( the TradeMe of these parts ) as diving boots / gym shoes.

I guessed they’d be flat and very lightweight with some solid rubber underfoot, and so it proved.

Very comfy, possibly not long-wearing, we shall, but for VND 137k (~= NZD 9 ), that’s ok.

As you see, the ankle infection has almost gone. So back to some old man jogging in a couple 3 weeks.

What’s that about panties?

From New Boots and Panties

Lemons and Lemonade

As lemons are to lemonade, so is liver to pate.

Such is my discovery after collecting the organs from a graveyard of chickens.

After a dead-end search for pate, I heeded a suggestion from a Facebook post, and took myself off to the local market.

After locating the ‘butcher’ among a football field full of dead flesh, we ‘spoke’ in gestures.

Pointing to the quarry,I did a quick calculation, rifled around, and waved a 20k VND note ( ~ NZD 1.35 ) at her,

When she handed back a small knapsack full of the stuff, I realised that haggling over quantity wouldn’t work.


So after cooking up a small batch, I froze the rest.

Yesterday I attempted pate. Olive oil and butter,heat slowly. Throw in some raw ginger.Add some finely chopped mustard greens. A bit of soy sauce, and cook slowly.

Cool, then chill or freeze.

The result? Beautiful! But a little more like mince than pate.

Good for 4 or 5 meals, and that’s only the quarter of it. Enough vitamin B12 for Africa.

Obviously further refinement is needed, but it’s a start.


It’s work, Jim, but not as we know it.

I got a job at a Language Centre here in Nha Trang. It’s a McJob because;

  • Right now, it’s a zero-hour job. I’m basically on call. So far I’ve done 4 sessions on Sunday. I went for the interview on Saturday.
  • The working conditions aren’t great. The classrooms put me in mind of cells. Concrete walls and tiny. The equipment ( e.g. overhead monitors ) doesn’t always work.
  • The centre is chaotic, managed on the fly. The manager / head teacher couldn’t tell in advance which room I’d be in for one of the four sessions.
  • The pay is low by industry standards. About NZD $10.40 per 45-minute session.

But, it’s a start, and will go toward making the rent without having to further deplete savings.

The kids are a delight. Keen to learn, and sometimes with pretty good English. Ages 6 to about 12. So no horrible adolescents.

It’s all grist for the mill, teaching experience.

That all might change quickly, and I may get no further teaching hours.

I find that out tomorrow. I think.

The State of It

Since this is my blog, consider this advance warning of blatant self-regard.

I do have an excuse, which is that the Nerdy Boy picture was used in a Facebook group job-seeking post. The other is just self-indulgence.

Nerdy Boy

The group post did garner some interest. I’ve got two tentative offers from Can Tho, a city near HCMC, but inland, on a river.

The wages for both are OK, liveable, but near the bottom of the barrel, apparently. But, the city itself doesn’t appeal for the following reasons;

  • The climate , er , sucks. Average relative humidity of 84% ( versus 79% for Nha Trang ). That’s muggy. Which is bearable if it’s cool, but it isn’t.
  • It’s inland, on a river. Which from reliable reports is dirty and / or silty, and isn’t safe to swim in.
  • The variety of food on offer. I hear there are two choices. Noodles or rice, or rice or noodles.
  • I’m told by a Facebook contact that during his week or so there, people were often rude / bad-mannered. That’s something about Thailand I don’t miss.

So, I may be shooting myself in the foot, but for now, I’m stalling, and holding out for an offer from Nha Trang, or Da Nang. Both coastal cities with good climates and food.

Mr. Atlas up there

The full-body shot is from my apartment, in my typical about-town garb.
Many people habitually get about in shorts and a t-shirt, and it serves well enough.
It’s also a snapshot of the state of the carcass after months of almost no high-intensity exercise, for example, running.
For one, the ankle injury still hasn’t fully healed. It’s on its way.
And for two, it’s ferking hot.
Despite that, I’m hoping to attempt an Old-Man waterfront jog sometime in the next coupla three weeks.

Nha Trang early afternoon

The view from my Nha Trang apartment’s terrace floor, early afternoon.

What the hell am I doing lolling about there when there’s work to be done?

I’m trying to rebuild some muscle by stair-climbing in between jags tapping away at this keyboard.

I think it’s probably shrivelled a little after a long time without any jogging or weights. And Odin forbid one should get flabby and old.

The Morning Elixir

The Vietnamese coffee is marvelous.

The above is from a cafe about 5 minutes’ walk away. It’s strong stuff – one is just right, two is too many.

It’s dripped through a sieve in the above contraption.

Many Vietnamese drink it iced, I like to add hot water, to prolong it as much as possible, and often butter ( real NZ stuff is about $5 NZ for 250g ).

Along the 5-minute route there are maybe three or four ‘Mum-and-Dad’ type cafes, where family and friends gather. All-comers are welcome, as far as I can tell.

With these smaller places, a little care has to be taken. They’ll often add sweetener, such as sugar, or sweetened condensed milk, unless you tell them otherwise.

Otherwise, it’s the perfect morning tonic, just enough to add a little boost, but not so much as to be bouncing off the walls.

Nha Trang it is

I made a decision, albeit helped along by a thunderstorm which delayed plans to fly back to Da Nang.

The return trip was only in aid of retrieving a suitcase full of clothes. But then I got an offer too good to turn down.

That was for an apartment in Nha Trang – “just move in, sit out the storm, and worry about the ( reduced ) rent later.”

So once I confirmed the suitcase was safe, I scootered through the beginnings of the storm, and parked up. Below.

The Kindness of Strangers

The offer came from a very kind chap I befriended on Facebook, and whose parents owned said apartment.

So here I am for the next month, and happy about it.

Meeting the neighbour, an Aussie named Richard, looks to have confirmed it as a good choice . I chose Nha Trang for its climate, and beach, and the food, and Richard – off his own bat – had good things to say about all three.

Next, retrieve the suitcase, and get a damn job.

Five Dog Night

A Three Dog Night is one so cold that three dogs have to be called into service as radiators.

They’re also that awful 70s covers band, but that’s another dismaying saga, and here we are concerned with my own.

Because last night, I had a Five Dog Night. It wasn’t cold, but the fiends performed in concert to make my night miserable.

A mysterious siren of some kind pulsed out its high pitch, acting as the perfect conductor, and excuse, to loose the hounds. Or more particularly, their vocal chords.

The pack kept up the aural assault from around 9pm to midnight, when blessed unconsciousness took me over. As if to properly scramble the nerves, every so often they threw in a teaser – a few minutes of silence.

I’d taken a punt, and branched out to the Hinterlands a bit.

The idea was to test whether an apartment going for a relatively cheap 4.5 million VND/month was going to be liveable. What with the Hounds, and the Trains, and the flimsy blanket, the answer was NO.

And all that discovery cost me was one shabby night’s sleep, and a few brain cells probably retired permanently.

I shifted today over to North side of town.

Notes on the Lam

I arrived in Nha Trang three days ago on a scouting mission.

I’m still here. I like it. Here’s why;

  • It has a spectacular beachfront. Maybe a similar length to Mount Maunganui, with some surf. Its cleaner than the DaNang beachfront, but still more littered than most New Zealand beaches. The difference is that the beachfront is developed, with walkways, exercise areas, motorcycle parking, etc.
  • There are a lot of foreigners here. Many Russians. That means that there’s an effort to cater for foreign tastes. Notably things like good olive oil, coconut cream, cheese, pate, olives.
  • It’s warm, but not roasting. Of course, it is autumn. Still a little too hot for me to spend hours outside, but bearable.
  • There are many locals who speak enough English to communicate with. With the help of some charades.

The scouting is for apartments and jobs. I think I may be getting quoted ‘foreigner prices’, but thus far it seems apartments are only a little cheaper than the much larger Da Nang. About 50% more expensive than Rayong, though.

So far no solid leads job-wise.

I plan to visit DaLat while I’m down here, staying one maybe two nights.

Whatever I finally decide city-wise, I left a packed suitcase at the Da Nang hotel, so I have to return there to collect it.