Oh, dear me... this is the latest I've been up since the night I arrived and my body felt like it was still on US time. And now, my jet lag having disappeared entirely, I am fully ready for bed at what used to be lunch time. [come to think of it, not much has changed, eh?]
Going out tonight was far beyond "worth it." The bar I was headed to was only a few blocks from my place, so I got away with a round trip motorbike ride for 15,000d (.93 cents). I more than made up for that with the cheapest liquor drink they had: a rum & coke at 45,000d ($2.80! sheesh). It was a total tourist bar, complete with cover band featuring hard rock from the late '90s (alas, no Hootie). But it was fun! Finding other people who have travelled here from the Western world and who are happy and thriving is like finding a good support group that firmly believes it's all gonna be ok. They all think I seem surprisingly well adjusted and chipper, considering my short time here. Pictured below are Kim and Eric, teachers; and Jane, Mel, and I.
It's fun being the new kid. All the people I spoke with tonight were abundantly clear on one point: it is definitely ok to move here with a traveler's visa and then keep on extending it for years, and on and on into the future. I met a drama teacher (!) two English teachers, a girl who sells real estate, and someone who works with some kind of company (fuzzy on details) and they all have temporary-then-extended visas. Yay! This is good news, since that's what Kenny will be doing, and he's a bit worried that he'll be caught and made to pay some horrid fine and he'll be caned and have his hands chopped off and worse yet, the government will be mad at him. But I think-- no, I know-- it is all going to be wonderful.
So not having drank much alcohol this summer equaled me being tipsy after a rum & coke and my first Tiger beer (the national brand- it's much better than PBR!). Riding home felt like sliding along on glass: so smooth, the wind so nice, the roads so quiet. Mmm. In a way, I want to get a motorbike of my own, but that would take all the pleasure out of hopping rides (plentiful and cheap) and not worrying about a thing. Well, you know, except that you might be going in the wrong direction. But I'll figure that out in time.
Tonight was an exceptionally busy night, but loads of fun: Vietnam National Day is tomorrow, so the kids have a long weekend. To celebrate we went out to dinner tonight and then shopping at the big mall so that they could play in the arcade. Whew, chasing after those two simultaneously was a challenge! They're so little and quick! I would find one and then the other would slip from my grasp. But all was fine in the end, tokens were spent and fortunes were made and lost. And then there was ice cream.
So my loose plan for the weekend:
-go to Chinatown
-go out to dinner tomorrow night with Jane and her friends
-wander aimlessly around my neighborhood market with the goal being to smile at lots of vendors so that they begin to recognize me as a neighbor
-hopefully, buy some noodles so that I can make my own spring rolls
-find the backpacker's neighborhood, but some used books
-and whatever else the universe has in store for me!
As always, faithful readers, I thank you for being my constant audience. I have no idea who is reading this, which is nice- I can send the thoughts out there and let them circulate. If you ever have a question or comment, hit the comment button below. Yeah, you know what to do!