Out of the Frying pan ….

Cairns police are on the lookout for a middle-aged hobo after the man was seen barefoot , dragging his belongings behind him in sweltering 30 ° C  afternoon heat.

Police say they have made enquiries with local mental health facilities, but no leads were forthcoming.

The man was described by passersby as European, of slight build, and dressed in grey shorts and a white t-shirt.   Witnesses say the man was hauling a large suitcase, and was later seen carrying boxes. He appeared  to be disorientated.

However, police say he does not present any threat to the public.

Update 6 pm

The man has since been located in an inner-city bed and breakfast.  Others at the location said he was cheerful, well-fed , and quiet.

They include

  • a Russian man, who gave his name as Anton, and has been stranded in Australia after leaving Auckland for a holiday in Sydney.
  • a Frenchwoman, Camille, known as a sailing enthusiast, formerly of Whangarei.
  • a young German, Peter.
  • an Australian in his late 30s, who spent some years in South-East Asia as a teacher, and who is in Cairns after some months in Weipa.
  • An Asian man named ‘Ben’.

The residence is known as a popular budget stop for visitors to Cairns, and is located about 1.5 km from the city centre and waterfront.

Liebensraum

OK, forget what I said , let’s talk about the war.

I moved into new digs Tuesday, as you know. It’s as good as can be expected, in many ways;

  • It’s 5 minutes on a bike to the Esplanade
  • It’s good temperature-wise. It’s got good aircon, and the bedroom ceiling fan is effective, even if sounds like a blender on slow. The patio is under a shelter, out of the direct sunlight, and gets a cool afternoon breeze
  • It’s secure.
  • One of the other flatmates, Hamish, is an escapee from Gore. But he’s overcome that, and he’s been friendly , generous, and accommodating. He’s been in Aussie for many years, and works night-shifts on the Stop / Go roadsigns for $30 / hour.

Liebensraum

It’s very early days, but the other guy, by contrast, is a humorless German, Peter.

He’s having trouble adjusting to a third flatmate, and every time we’ve talked directly, he’s complained or given orders about something or other.

For example, there are two shared fridges in the flat. In his universe, three into two works like this – one for you two, and one for me. It sounds petty, but without fridge-space I’ll be eating junkier food. So sooner or later, there will need to be compromise.

Right now, though, I’m the New Guy – Poland if you will – to his Germany. If it comes to a scrap, I’m guessing the Landlord would give me the marching orders, so I’m being diplomatic.

Gated

Most residences here are behind at least one high locked gate, as if there’s a low-level siege mentality.

Not nearly at the same level as Vietnam, but it’s noticeable for a small-town lad.

Along with a wide range of foreigners, there also seems to be noticeably more Lost Souls here than back in Whangarei . People shouting at windmills and sucking on bags of dubious liquid, or just making the place look untidy.

I guess the Haves are barricading themselves against the Have-Nots.

When In Rome

The weather is even better than expected. It’s not rained once, during daylight, since I’ve been here.

Like most of the natives, I gad about in shorts and a t-shirt, and haven’t yet worn shoes.

All of that seems to be agreeing with me, and if this continues, I may be some time.

New digs

This guest house lark is all very nice and comfortable, but it isn’t cheap, so I move into a flat next Tuesday.

It’s in Clare St, Parramatta Park, where I’ll share a downstairs flat with two others. Private bedroom, aircon, desk, broadband, and shared bathroom, kitchen , living area, $165 AUD / week.

I’m a little nervous about the caper, having told myself in 2018 after a cold winter in a Railway Terrace, Whg flat, that that was the last time.

But the house-owner seems like a straight-up no-bs sort, and it was advertised as a “non-party” ( read codgers’ ) household, so all may be well.

Pedalling

I’ve been putting in the biking miles, and will be buying my own ( second-hand, circa $80 ) for transport as I’ll lose the free use of the guest house two-wheelers.

Sights

.. and I’ve been further exploring the Esplanade and waterfront. Evidence below.

July 22, 7:47 a.m., the Bay
July 20, 10:29 a.m., the Salt-Water pool
July 22, North End of the Esplanade, looking over the Bay

Cool Chaos in Dalat

I made my way to Dalat, with its fine crisp mountain air, and then things went all Fawlty Towers on me. Again.

The taxi driver couldn’t find the hotel. Neither could I, after my phone, which I’d wisely topped up, packed a sad.

After we found the hotel, it was a little more than cupboard. Only two or three power points, all in the most awkward places possible. No lift. No fridge. No TV. No balcony.

I discovered I’d left the laptop charger in Na Trang. The rental bike had about 2km worth of gas innit. I was hungry enough to kill a careless seagull. And I didn’t want to spend the night in the cubby-hole I’d booked.

It was a conundrum.

While I was riding around trying to avoid getting lost, there was a strange sensation. In my thin white collared shirt, I was … cold! For the first time in South-East Asia. Aaaah.

But you’ll sleep soundly, I’m sure, when you hear that I managed to sort all of those issues. And I’m now about to collapse in the Nang Chieu Hotel – about 200m from the original hotel – which is the red marker above.

Kids’ Party

If I were C Montgomery Burns the hounds would be satisfied and licking their chops about now.
For a new trend is lowering the neighborhood tone, you know.
The local bratpack have started swarming in the street at 7pm and thereabouts.
I don’t really mind, though. It’s short-lived , and is the healthy sound of souls enjoying company. So unlike the dogs, the noise doesn’t jangle the nerves.
And barring disaster I’ll be back in peaceful ( dull? ) NZ in less than a fortnight.
And something tells me I’ll miss the chaos.

On My Way

The heat, the traffic, and the dogs have won out, and I’m on my way to a new apartment May 3.

The new apartment is about 2 km down the road, and is closer to the town centre, the beach, and the school.

The new apartment is smaller ( three rooms – bedroom/living room/kitchen, tiny balcony, and bathroom ), but is cheaper, at $3.2 million VND/month ( ABOUT $225 nzd ).

The Heat

Coming into summertime, the heat is becoming hard to handle. Here at 25 Quang Duc, the only room with air-conditioning is the bedroom. Where I’d rather not spend the entire day.

The Traffic

The new place is just enough off the beaten track, so that ( I hope ) I’ll no longer be bombarded with vehicle horns. As I am here, mornings around 7am – 8.30 a.m., lunchtime, and from about 4.30 pm to 7pm. The rest of the day it’s only every few minutes.

The Dogs

Here there are dozens of local dogs which need professional help. A quick bullet would also work. At almost any time, somewhere close or within hearing distance, one of these will be doing it’s nut.

It’s gotten to me. The new place is surrounded by a few less dwellings, so I’m hoping this improves.

I’ve put a deposit on the new place, and committed to a month. If it doesn’t work, I have a couple of back-up plans ( bolt-holes ).

Alea jacta est.

‘…just for one day’?

In an emerging pattern of back-peddling, I’ve returned to Moonstone Apartments, Van Kiep St after 3 months in North Nha Trang.

This after the traffic noise and inescapable heat at Vinh Quang Aaprtments, in the North, were starting to jangle my nerves. To the extent that I’m finding myself tailing and cussing at random motorbike riders who’d had the gall to honk at me.

But it may be just for one day after I wrangled a trial run from the Moonstone owner after he offered me a ridiculous cut rate ( demand is down ) to come back.

Van Kiep St map

So I’ve basically reversed this route showing the original move late in December.

It’s spring-time here in Nha Trang, and about to get way warmer. So, so far, the cavernous character of Van Kiep is just what I need.

But, I won’t know until after I’ve been here overnight how much it will cost in power to keep cool, and how bad the dog noise is.

So far, the traffic noise is almost non-existent, what with everyone and his dog staying home, and the living here two solid doors away from the street.

Right now, I’m pretty sure I’ll be moving on April 3, the last date rent is paid for Vinh Quang. But, as always, watch this space.

Moving Up In the World

I’ve moved up in the world – literally, but not figuratively.

After a manic shotgun method of due diligence looking for new digs for the next month, I moved. Up one floor, from 401 to 501.

So, still at Old Faithful 25 Quảng Đức, Vĩnh Hải, Thành phố Nha Trang, etc.

It’s the first place I stayed in Nha Trang. I like it for many reasons. Among them;

  • its cheap at 4.5m VND ~= $USD 194 / month.
  • The management is good. The day manager is a lovely young woman, always smiling, and ready to at least listen to annoying requests from neurotic foreigners ( me ). They supplied, on request, a hotplate, and more importantly, a rice cooker. This second doubles very nicely as a Crockpot. Roll on the everlasting chicken stews.
  • It’s close to the beach. Two – three minutes. No excuse to miss an afternoon wade & paddle.
  • It’s smack in the middle of two big markets – Vinh Hai, and, er, the other one. Fresh veges, home-made produce ( I’m ‘studying’ Vietnamese rice cakes at the moment ). Non-processed meats – get there early enough, and most of the flies are still asleep.

The list could go on, but here’s my thinking for moving up s floor:

Two reasons mainly – 1) the huge immoveable bed in room 401 was in an awkward place .2) I’ll be another floor up, so a) further from road & dog noise b ) able to see more c ) get more breeze. If I leave my door slightly ajar I can get a cooling gale blowing down the corridor on a good day.

The downside is that it’s a long way ( 15-20 minutes’ ride ) from work. It’s a lifestyle compromise I’m willing to make, for now.

[thư viện loại = “vuông” size = “trung bình” ids = “1892,1890,1891,1879”]

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.

Back to the Future

I’m headed back tomorrow to the Wiang Walee Hotel, the same one I landed in when I first arrived in Rayong.

It’s cheaper , basically. Rent savings will be 1500 baht / month, and electricity savings about 500 baht / month. I found out recently that the wholesale electricity rate is 3 baht / unit charged by the Government. Apartment owners typically gouge tenants at the rate of 7 baht / unit. Which is a 2000 baht / month difference, in my case.

The Wiang Walee isn’t glamorous, but it is close to the school, comfortable, and liveable. It has shelf space. I’ll have to splash out a little ( a small table maybe, etc ), but should be able to make some decent savings.