In a bald attempt to spawn a decent headline, I went and got my first jab today.

I’m wary of adding more unnatural and untested stuff to my juices, but in this case, I’m making an exception for practical reasons.

Those are that it looks unlikely that Aotearoa will let me back in quarantine-free without a couple of doses. There’s a three-month delay between AstraZeneca shots, so I’ll be ready for NZ’s possible re-opening early next year.

It’s a few hours later, and so far my carcass hasn’t complained any more than usual.

Beware Angry Men

Meanwhile, I’ll soon be I’m on the move again – first houses, and then cities.

Houses because Hamish, the Aussie flatmate, is a Pain in the Tender Bits. He is a very angry man, and with it, an Old Woman. He’d rather worry about other people’s business than his own, and bleats about unbelievably tiny details.

The warning signs were there – during conversations he’ll repeat “yeh, yeh, yeh” staccato-style when someone else is talking. He’s not listening, and / or doesn’t care what’s being said.

So not even trivial issues can be solved, because it’s a one-way conversation. He just raises his voice until it stops being a conversation.

His ex-wife, and kids, don’t talk to him. The other flatmate, Peter the German, turns out to be a lovely guy, and is so laid back that Hamish doesn’t bug him.

Not so for yours truly, a high achiever on the Neuroticism factor in the “Ocean” five-factor personality scale.

I don’t deal with conflict well, and I didn’t come here to live with screw-ups, so I’m off to an AirBnB house in Cairns for two weeks, until September 28th. That gives me a chance to explore Cairns a little more….

Probably no swimming , though


After that, I’ll head south, where the nights are cooler, and sleep is possible – in early spring, without the aid of air-conditioners.

I’m going to stay in Queensland for a bit longer, but not sure where yet. Any of the top cities in this list is possible, except Brisbane itself.

A(nother) long haul ?

It looks like I may again be abroad for a longer haul than expected.

At the prompting of an earnest friend, a check on the MIQ berths this morning showed full houses right through to December.

Which is hardly a surprise, but it means that there may be more “working” than “holiday” going on.

Of course, the travel bubble may get re-inflated in September, which would mean no MIQ on return. But right now, that seems less likely with a cluster of covid cases in parts of Queensland, including one yesterday in Cairns.

So there’s a bit of “head down, arse up” going on.

Alongside the morning bike rides around the beautiful Cairns waterfront, and generally enjoying being thawed out.

The territory issues in the flat have worked themselves out, thanks to the generosity of Hamish, and all is dull and plain sailing.

Ho hum.

Covid-free – officially

My test from Day 3 of quarantine has come back ‘clear of anti-bodies’.

Not negative. I’m not entirely sure what the difference is, but I’ll take it anyway.

Here they use a novel system of counting, so that Monday – when I landed and arrived here – was Day 0. Hence the test is from Thursday.

The no news is good news system got to me, so I phoned for the result. The voice on the other end pressed a couple of buttons, and presto, a result.

I’m generally feeling fine. The interwebs, which were foobared on the first day of online teaching, are behaving themselves. I’m getting regular walkies in the designated areas ( er, mostly ).

My biggest challenge at the moment is turning a blind eye to the desserts being delivered with my by-request ‘low-carb’ meals. Today, beautiful cooked meals, times three, and the desserts? Chips ( crisps to some ) for two meals, and pineapple lumps ( 75% sugar ) for the other. So far I’ve resisted, reminding myself that shortly afterwards I’d feel anything but fine.

I have a handkerchief if you need it.

One In the Eye

It was better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick – but only just.

I’m talking of course about the Day 3 covid-19 test carried out here at the prison hotel.

A swab – a stick about the size and length of a small kebab – is thrust up yer nose, and wiggled about to scrape all the nasties up there.

In the midst of this fun, the nurse is counting to 10, slowly, and then it’s over, bar the snorting, and sneezing, and harrumph-ing.

Apparently the results are back possibly as early as today, but in that very non-comforting phrase, “no news is good news,” they tell me.

I imagine that if the worst does happen, they’ll be busting my door down dressed in full protective armour.

So far, that hasn’t happened.

Nobut – Singapore

After lots of arsing about, a simple email finally confirmed that the Sept 27 return trip I hoped to make is a dead duck.
Singapore Airlines has confirmed that passengers coming from Vietnam are not allowed to transit through Singapore.
No matter that Vietnam is among the countries least affected by covid-19.

As you see from your detailed scrutiny of the above link, Vietnam has 7 cases of the virus per millions of population. The comparable figure for South Korea – where passengers are given transit through Singapore – is 282, and New Zealand, 314.

Over coffee this morning, Henry and I agreed that it can only be down to a political decision.

And now that’s all decided and wrapped and tied in a neat bow, it’s on to other return routes for me, e.g., via Hong Kong. Or Thailand. Or anywhere.


There was an ominous knock on the apartment door last night around 7.20 pm.

Ominous because at that time, it’s more than likely to be the impish and mischievous apartment manager. He has time to spare, and so thinks nothing of frittering away mine, at just the time I’m in dinner digestion mode, and more hostile than hospitable.

And so it proved. But this time, ‘Mr. Duc’, as I call him, wanted not to smoke and shoot the breeze, but take photos of my passport.

This morning, I discovered why. There’s been a new outbreak of covid-19 in Da Nang, about 500 km north of here.

They’re evacuating the city.

This is all about moi, of course, and isn’t good news. If the outbreak isn’t contained, the Govt. has shown itself to be more than willing to shut things down – cafes, restaurants, plane flights.

As it is, my original plan to return to NZ in August now looks dubious, with flight prices up at NZD3000 and above. Prices settle late September, but that won’t happen in the midst of Alarm and Lockdowns.

It’s a moving feast. On that topic, my stomach is saying I should move breakfast to, er, right now.

Back to School

I learned an hour ago that my school is back from next Monday, May 4th!

I’ll be teaching Monday – Friday, 8.30 a.m. to 11.45 a.m. You might think this is cause for celebration, and it is. But, the news comes with a large dollop of nerves.

Here’s why;

  • Rustiness

    It will have been more than three months since I last stood in front of a bunch of teenagers playing the role of teacher. Yes, I’ve been teaching online, but that’s a cakewalk compared.

  • Heat

    Hearsay, and a website, has it that air-conditioners won’t be allowed in classrooms. Covid-19, you understand. It’s coming up toward the middle of summer here, with temperatures feeling like mid-30s °C by late morning.

  • Covid-19 changes

    Students and teachers have to wear masks at all times, and keep a(n anti-) social distance of 1.5 metres. I expect there’ll also be rigorous washing of hands etc. All told, a different game to when I last played in January.

  • Moving

    Ramping up the pressure a little more, I’ve committed to moving apartments. I have to do it a day or two before school starts.

On the Other Hand

This is what I signed up for. I’ve done it before. Buy the ticket, take the ride.

Opening Up

My Old Man ramble this morning revealed a pleasant surprise – my favourite cafe is open again!

Good news – it means I can relax under cover, at a adult-up sized table, away from the flies, and get my ritual morning boost and head together for the day ahead.

I later leaned that restaurants and other businesses are opening up too, including internal flights*.

This after five or six days of no new reported covid-19 cases here in Vietnam. *

On the downside, the beaches here in Nha Trang are still emergency-taped off.

No word yet on schools re-opening, but the peanut gallery is guessing that it may be early May. 


If the above link is gibberish, use the Google Chrome browser with the Google translate extension. And it’ll make slightly more sense in English.

Social distancing

Clockwise from top left: Black sesame seed milk, coffee, Banh It ( rice cake ), duck eggs, coconut, and red pepper
Clockwise from top left: Black sesame seed milk, coffee, Banh It ( rice cake ), duck eggs, coconut, and red pepper

Yes, I kept my social distance gathering the morning haul pictured.

The Black Sesame Seed milk is a new discovery, a fat-rich ‘milk’ with a few carbs ( NZD 40c ) , made by a roadside vendor, and fresh every morning.

That’s ca phe mang ve ( takeaway coffee, NZD 1.00), since the cafes stopped allowing ‘gatherings’ a day or two back.

The Banh It is spiced pork wrapped in cooked and cooled rice, my excuse for a cheap ( NZD 20c ) carb-fest.

The coconut fresh and ripe, ‘meat’, water and all, ideal for hot afternoons.  Another recent heat remedy came after pondering the phrase ‘cool as a cucumber’ ( sliced, with a pinch of salt, and apple cider vinegar ).

There could be worse places to be ‘stuck’ in.

Covid Exercise Kit

And, apart from the obvious shorts and a singlet, that’s about it.

For a while now, I’ve been walking and running barefoot, and see no good reason to change. It feels good, once your feet are adapted. The roads and footpaths here are clear of nasty stones, but as you see, dusty.

Exercise recently has all been in Zone 2, at a heart rate aimed at training the aerobic system. Right now, that’s ridiculously slow, or Old Man pace, and almost all walking.

Afternoons are probably ideal performance-wise, but by then temperatures are in the mid-30’s, and not even bearable for mad dogs.

So mornings it is, along with hundreds of Vietnamese out moving their carcasses.

Back to Running(?)

This morning, I even ventured a few little trots, without my system hitting red alert for a change.

I think lots of protein, and a decent run of sleep, is doing the trick, but thus far only baby steps on the way back to running.