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.

Good Evening Vietnam

I made it to Vietnam.

The day of the trip – yesterday – is a long comic story, more of which later.

For now, here’s a view from the balcony of the Kaluga Hotel, Da Nang

First impressions –

  • Da Nang is a beautuful city
  • It’s cleaner, and less dusty, than ( the parts of ) Thailand ( I was in )
  • The ( ocean ) beach is great – long, relatively clean, and less than 5 minutes’ walk from the hotel
  • Riding ( a scooter ) on the right-hand side of the road is a challenge
  • Vietnamese drivers use their horns like other people use their indicators
  • Vietnam here I come

    The see-sawing is finally over. It’s Vietnam rather than Pattaya.

    After I resigned from my current school, I did a phone interview with a private school in Pattaya. The upshot was a job offer for 40k baht / month, as opposed to the current 37k ( about NZD 1900 ).

    So a good offer. But after torturing myself with Visa options for staying in Thailand, the only reliable one I could find was another 30-hour bus-trip to Savannakhet, Laos. The slightly less bitter pill would have been a 10-hour drive in a rental car.

    I just couldn’t do it. Here’s my logic – if that’s how high Thailand wants me to jump, I’ll play elsewhere. Plus, the Thai Visa situation re foreigners is getting worse, not better.

    So it’s two birds in the bush – Vietnam’s higher pay-rates and cheaper living – rather than one in the hand ( a solid offer from Thailand ).

    My last day at the current job is October 31.

    I leave for Vietnam – most likely Da Nang – in the day or after that.