Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
157Trip End Ongoing
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Well I'm back in Hanoi and I heard those arguing dogs tonight but found some comfort in their familiarity once again - it reminded me that I was back home in Vietnam
While on the 3 planes coming back to Hanoi I got to catch up on a few movies that I'd considered seeing at one time or another: Surrogates (Bruce Willis & Ving Rhames), Amalfi (very good foreign flick), 2 minutes too many of Zombieland with Woody Harrelson, MJ's 'This Is It', the so-so 'Love Happens' w/ the Jennifer Aniston and a "light" comedy/drama about a guy with Aspergers - 'Adam'. I would recommend any of them depending on your personal tastes and only Zombieland to Cliff and Surrogates to someone that didn't mind a silly sci-fi/drama that fails miserably at trying to be a Blade Runner remake.
Once I got home that night, I fell asleep at about 3 am and woke at noon in a delusional state of mind. I saw 12:04 on the clock and for a few moments thought the clock stopped during the night but once I saw how light it was (and heard the construction going on outside) I realized it was in fact four minutes after twelve noon. Not wanting to lose a vacation day, I jumped up, showered, dressed, found a xeom and was promptly at work by 1:00. I'm sure the Blonde Espresso from Bean Haus in the espresso pot from Charlotte didn't hurt my hastened state.
Tuesday when I called I was actually quite disappointed to find that the motorbike rental didn't have any bikes of my choice(http://mybikeshop.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/yamaha_nouvo_main.jpg) but they were putting an all points bulletin out on one for me and assured me they'd have one by weeks end. I have put Julie's first aid kit in hiding so I won't think about the need to maybe use its contents, although I have a nearly hidden scar as a constant reminder to not take my mind off what lies on the road if not watched at all times.
I put in a solid 4 hours of work (No I don't have proof in photos, Jeremy) but I did work hard on plans for next week and sites to help the teachers with their lessons. It was great to touch base with the Vietnamese teachers and hear about where they went on holiday. I was the only expat teacher back at work so it was very quiet. Through conversations I discovered that several Vn teachers went to Hue. This was the capital of Vietnam around 1744 and from the photos they showed me it looks like a fantastic place. It has definitely climbed into my top 5 spots to see soon. My favorite photo was of statues of soldiers and horses that in their lined up fashion look like a huge chess set.
Tuesday night I didn't sleep at all, not even a short 15 minute power nap. So needless to say most of Wednesday I felt like those poor chaps from Zombieland, slow moving and eyes half open, but minus the blood thirsty hunger. In fact I was too tired to think about food and as the day wore on I was happy to not fall asleep while standing.
Wednesday and Thursday went well esp. since I am sleeping again. Thursday afternoon I got a call from the motorbike rental guy who told me they found a bike for me and it would be delivered Friday afternoon.
That night (Thursday) one of my Vn friends invited me to dinner at the most famous Pho restaurants in Hanoi - Pho Suong
Today (Saturday) I had my first official driving lesson and felt good about driving. By the end of my first "class" my confidence had returned but I still have much to learn before getting out on the big bad streets of Hanoi *alone, so to speak
School is back in tomorrow and the next entry will have an entry about my classes and teaching, photos of the students formally known as the terrible first graders and many other exciting forms of proof that I do teach sometimes. With that said I may as well stir the pot and tell you we have a 2 week break in a few weeks from now for the Tet holiday.(Tet is the abbreviation of Tet Nguyen Dan which means the first morning of the first day of the new period. Tet marks the beginning of a new year on the lunar calendar, and the beginning of Spring and is a huge celebration lasting three days) I am going to the Sapa mountains for a few days just before it begins and then I'm off to Thailand for a week but first... I will teach for 3 weeks.