I have a job starting Thursday January 2nd.

The school I turned down because the hours were too brutal got back to me with a part-time offer.

Fifteen hours a week – 10 sessions of 90 minutes, 5 days a week 0830 – 1145. The pay rate was too good to turn down.

Even better, the job ends January 17. After that I may be offered further weeks or months.

I’m happy about the short term, because it’s going to be a challenge doing such long sessions. And, more importantly, I’m having some success with online teaching.

I’m enjoying the flexibility, and the conversation with adults.

But meantime, I’ll make hay while the sun shines at the school.

In prep for that, I’m currently holed up in temporary digs dodging the madness of New Year’s revelry.



I was peacefully ambling back from my morning caffeine when Gollum appeared.

At first, I mistook him for one of the ubiquitous, noisy, and loathsome local mutts.

But a third glance revealed sandals on his hands, which were two of All Fours.

As I got closer, the poor bastard – a cripple of some sort , maybe 30 – looked up from his lope with a genuine and beatific smile.

I gave him an idiot grin back, and kept going.

He offered a passing motorcyclist a hat, which was duly filled with small bills.

Mr. Churlish here finally clicked, and chipped in. I got a “thank you”, in perfect English.

Genuine gratitude , for which reminder I paid a pittance.



The monring coffee ritual is turning out to have a double benefit.

Frequenting the same cafe has meant I’m starting to make some connections here in Nha Trang.

The latest is a French Vietnamese named Claude, a man who could read a bus timetable, and make it sound like Remembrance of things Past.

He ambled over to my table to say hello after I stared at him, trying to figure out whether he was part Maori. He has the skin tone, and flat, hooked nose for it.

He is almost my age, and grew up in Paris , leaving school at around 15. “I did not like getting up in the morning, you see”.

He is part Vietnamese, and came to Vietnam after crossing the road to buy a ticket to the US. “The tickets for ze States was ‘ere, and ze ticket for Vietnam was over ‘ere. I thought, no, I am going to Vietnam.”

He’s been in Vietnam now for 14 years, and is relentlessly cheerful, and carefree.

The other day, the entire contents of his under-construction house had been stolen. Maybe it was bravado, but he shrugs. “I do not care”. He guessed the value at a few million VND ( ~= 200 USD ).

He appears to knows his way around Nha Trang, and he’s street-smart, an original thinker, and speaks four languages.

The good coffee, and a dose of The World According to Claude, are the perfect morning filip.

Snoop Doggy Dog & Job Jobby Jobs

[UPDATE 22-12-19, Timeline Nha Trang…]
This post has become cancerous, growing all over the place but doing nobody any good.

So here’s the latest: after jumping through all the circus hoops for one online outfit, I’m finally getting online teaching work!

Pay isn’t great, $10 US/ hr, but during the last 2 days I earned $85 sitting on my couch. The platform is Bibo Global, and it’s mainly giving lessons chatting to Japanese adults with pre-prepared material.

Of course, I haven’t been paid yet. But counting chickens ( the company is large, and I assume wouldn’t survive if it was a total scam ), if my booking rate continues as is, I should just be able to support myself from wherever.

Watch this space. Below is the cancer.

Continue reading “Snoop Doggy Dog & Job Jobby Jobs”

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.