Day 1

It’s about 1am in the morning of the 2nd of June in Hanoi.  I have made it past 24 hours in this country, and I just wanted to share some things I’ve noticed and experienced.

  1. It is SOOOO HOOOOOT.  I said in a previous post that it is hot in Japan, but I think this is worse.  The tropical / humid weather makes it feel even hotter.  It was in the 90s today, and every time I walked anywhere, I felt sticky and that I was going to die.
  2. If it rains here, I will not be ready for it.  It seems that I have chosen the worst months, weather-wise, to come to Vietnam.
  3. I only slept for 4 hours last night, so I hope I don’t wake up tired tomorrow.  The heat is super draining though.  Every time I come back from some place, I just sit in front of fan for a while.
  4. Facebook and Twitter is “unofficially blocked” here.  We have trouble connecting to it, but I wonder if that will be solved any time soon. I’m working on it!
  5. Crossing the street here is the scariest thing ever.  Cars first, motorbikes second, pedestrians third.  Look both ways before you cross the street, and if you have already started crossing, move at a steady pace.  Never go backwards.  The cars will not stop for you.  The motorbikes are supposed swerve around you.  There is more honking than I have ever heard in my lifetime, and people generally don’t slow down.
    Busy street in Ha Noi.
    Busy street in Ha Noi.

    I actually got run over today by some guy on his motorbike, talking on his phone.  I was kind of unbelievable, but I had to get back up quick and continue walking.

  6. Things here pretty cheap.  The currency is approximately 21,000 VND for $1 US dollar.  A good meal could range from $1-4, but Western food costs more.
  7. Even though it is hot, people cover up.  Not many people wear short-shorts, and I think this is because–at least for the women–they prefer lighter skin.  I know this is true in my family, but I know that I would wear shorts and tank if it was a hot day.  Some of these women are completely covered up.  I predict that I will be very dark by the time I come back.
  8. People wear masks.  This is understandable because when you are on the road, you are breathing unhealthy fumes.
  9. Vietnamese people generally don’t walk to places.  The most common form of transportation is the motorbikes.   They are everywhere.  They are even parked on the sidewalk.
  10. Taxis galore!
  11. The super market seals up your bag or places it in a locker while you’re there.
  12. The Vietnamese people that I’ve talked to know that I am not from Hanoi.  They know that I have a Southern dialect, and they pick it up immediately.  The good thing is that it doesn’t necessarily bar me from having a conversation.
  13. I still need to drink authentic ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee) soon!!
  14. I’ve met some really great people here–foreign and domestic.  I am really happy about that.
  15. I start working with CECAD tomorrow!

And that’s all for now! Goodnight!

Over and out.

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