Published: August 17th 2012August 16th 2012
busy sunday afternoon. the Vietnamese cover up at the beach mostly bc they believe the whiter the skin, the more beautiful.
August 16 2012
Hello world, I am here! I feel like so much has happened since the last time I blogged, and it hasn’t even been that long. This is going to be all over the place, and probably should be broken up into a few blog posts but I’m too lazy to do that. Sorry it’s so long and maybe boring but it’s worth reading through it all at your own pace. Lots of experiences and thoughts. 3 Days, 3 Cities
I started off trekking back to Hai Phong in the hopes of somehow bringing back a motor bike AND my huge ass luggage, and visit some friends in the meantime. What really happened: It was raining and already half past 3 by the time I arrived at the footsteps of Irene’s apartment. I was supposed to attend a pool party; I was starving and had no one’s number on the account that I lost my phone. I had an awkward run in with Gaz, the guy who hired me and was very upset when I skipped town. But you know what, it was good to be back in
Status all over Ba Na hills
Hai Phong, where I knew where shit was and see people I know, and not get ripped off because I’m white. Anyways, I finally met up with everyone and we all went out and had a grand time at the local expat bar, Julies and spent a good portion of the wee morning hours at duck noodle. It is what it sounds like… a street food place that specializes in noodles with duck. You can’t go to Julie’s without stopping by duck noodle! Then I woke up at 8am to try to figure out this motor bike thing, which was a disaster! Finally at 9:15 I headed to the bus station and waited for the 10am bus back to Ha Noi. Takes forever! Get home and have 30 mins to pack before the shuttle is there to pick us up to head to the airport. Sierra and Hue are 2 of my new roomies and we spent a girl’s vacation at the beach in Da Nang and Hoi An.
We arrived in Da Nang and immediately headed to the beach. It was so refreshing and the town had such a relaxed vibe. After
the castle that houses a 4 story arcade
that, we went to get some seafood because that’s the specialty of Da Nang. Huge plate of fresh, garlic shrimp for $2.50!!!! All of us at and drank for less than $10 combined; 2 plates of shrimp, 1 plate of baked clams, veggie stir fry, 3 drinks. tour of Ba Na Hills. You take an aerial tram up the mountains. Stop part way and explore the big budda and other things around. Then continue up to a castle “fantasy land” attraction and old French villa ruins. It was all pretty cool but unfortunately the tour was all in Vietnamese even though the pamphlet had said differently. After this grand adventure, of course it was back to the beach. But no relaxation for us. We were up even earlier the next day to head to Cham Island. Had to catch a ride about 45 mins away to catch the boats, wait a while then travel my motor boat to this amazing island in the South China Sea off the coast Da Nang. It was paradise on earth with an old pagoda to visit, an extensive market at
Ba Na Hills
view from mountain top hotel
the port and a beach straight out of the pages of a magazine. This was a much more relaxing day and we also were taken out to some coral reefs and did some snorkeling.
After our island day, we returned to Hoi An. This is by far my favorite place in Viet Nam! It is such a charming and relaxed little city with extensive shopping. It is a popular destination for tourists, which can normally turn me off to a place, but it was so amazing. There were so many people from all over the world, and definitely the most western people I’ve seen since leaving the US. This also means that almost all the Vietnamese people there spoke English, which makes so many things easier, although we had Hue so she was like our own personal translator and made sure we all got fair prices. We spent the night in the market and headed to bed early because we’ve had a hell of a few days and were pooped. We left the next afternoon with custom made clothing, shoes and a few little trinkets and what not as souvenirs. Over all a pretty successful
Cham Island villager drying her crop.
Morning Star International Kindergarten
Today, our first day back in Hanoi, I officially have a job!!!!!!!! YAY! No more stressing about it. And I’m not settling for just anything, I really think I can succeed in this school. Definitely not what I was originally looking for but I think it’s a good fit. I will be teaching my OWN CLASS of 2-3 year olds! Well I’m not sure how much “teaching” will go on, so it’s more playing with them and getting paid. It is a reputable international school. As an international school that means I have children in my class from all over the world. Japan, Pakistan, Vietnam, Canada, Holland and more. I have 12 students, but not all come every day, all day. The staff all seem really cool and it’s convenient because this is where Sierra works too so we can go to work together, and she just bought a scooter so no more paying taxis! The pay is $1,500 a month working 7:45 – 4 with an hour for lunch and 30 mins prep, Monday – Friday. SCORE. I am still finalizing the contract and I’m going
An old pagoda over the river in Hoi An
to see if I can squeeze another hundred or so out of them, so we’ll see. I am actually a little overwhelmed at the moment because I just had so much info thrown at me today but I know after the first week as a trial run, things will be good and I’ll get the feel of it.
Oh Viet Nam…
I would have to say that my “honey moon phase” with Viet Nam is officially over! Almost every day I get so frustrated over one thing or another and I was seriously getting so sick of everything. Throughout the blog I put a few things in italics because they are things I feel li need to address in this section.
get ripped off: Hai Phong is definitely not the place most people go to have their first experience with Asia, but of course I’m not most people. So in all reality, things are still pretty cheap in Ha Noi but not compared to Hai Phong, so every time I go to pay I get so fukin pissed that I have to spend more money.
sea food market on Cham Island!!!
For example, I got my nails done in Hai Phong for 25,000 dong which is $1.25. Really really good price right? So I go here in Ha Noi and the lady charged me 70,000 dong. I was livid and ended up telling her off, and everyone here understands “fuk you”… but in all reality that’s still only $3.50 to get my nails done where at home is like $12. But seriously here there are so many tourists that they think they can get away with overcharging but I know about how much things should cost, so it’s a lot of haggling and what not. Or when prices in the menu are not correct, because they raised them but didn’t bother to change all the menus and don’t notify you. Why wouldn’t you just fix all of them??? It’s so simple!
Hue: Never gets mad or voices if she is unsatisfied. I ordered a tequila sunrise. It came with crushed mint in it… WTF. I hate mint so I sent it back asked them to please make it the normal way. It seriously turned into a huge fiasco where I ended up cussing them out… again.
Best beach yet in Viet Nam
Conclusion is that they claim I ordered it that way so they couldn’t remake it. I didn’t drink it and was not going to pay. Hue paid for it because.. well I couldn’t tell you. Idk why.
tour of Ba Na Hills: You would think that a tour advertised at the airport would be well organized and professional. NO! definitely not the case with Ba Na Hills resort. First of all as I mentioned, the tour guide didn’t even speak English as advertised. Furthermore, it was so unorganized and retarded I was frustrated half the day instead of relaxing and enjoying everything. He would hurry us through something really cool, just to wait 20 mins for the next thing. Why? We were supposed to be able to choose between a glass of wine, cocktail, mocktail or soft drink as a free beverage. We get to the bar and we try and order a cocktail. They literally just tell us “no”. There are bottle decorating the walls and we find out they are all literally decorations, they don’t even ever make cocktails! So why the fuk would you list that as a choice?? And you would
rush hour in Ha Noi
think that to get to point D you would go A, B, C, D. No. we would go back and further wasting more time and energy in the freaking hot ass sun.
snorkeling: Did you know there are these little things called sea lice in the water here?! They are so small you can’t see them with the naked eye, but they are like jelly fish so when you’re in the water is like little stings all over your body that get itchy. After a while they really start to hurt. Fresh water or vinegar kills them. I’ve never heard about these little guys before and it SUX! It’s hard to enjoy the beautiful ocean.
Also thought I should mention the Vietnamese sense of time. Well they don’t have one! So many times I have been told to wait 10 minutes or something and it’s almost always at least double. “Now” means 20 minutes. I hate my time being wasted. =/
I don’t want to seem like all I do is complain but it sure is a lot to get used to and
river at the market in Hoi An
before I got to Hoi An it was all adding up and adding up. I was really struggling to find the positive side of things which is really unlike me. I have to say Hoi An made me fall in love with Viet Nam again. After being a little refreshed I was glad to get back to Ha Noi and start work. I need to make sure to take time to distress here and surround myself with other positive people so I can keep my spirits up when I’m getting frustrated, instead of cussing people out. This next week should be a busy one but the future is looking more stable.