Interesting.....feels like I just got here.......
Haven't had time to write, and I apologise. I thought that this was gonna be a joke and that I'd be working four hours a day and have all sorts of free time....
....whilst I still do work four hours a day, Monday through Friday, I got a lotta irons in the fire - helping friends of mine with computers and finding housing, working on getting set-up and established here in Hai Phong, a couple side things, much traveling, fair amount of going out....all sorts of stuff....
Settled in quite nicely. Bought a new desktop computer 'cause my DELL laptop - which has been a TOTAL piece of shit riddled with problems since I got it brand new five years ago - is dying the slow final death. Given that I haven't carried that 500-kilogram heap O'shite on a trip anywhere in the past year (ALWAYS take the ASUS EEE pc), and that all I used it for was watching DVD's and surfing the net at home.............when it died, I decided not to drop 12 million Dong on a full-sized laptop. So I bought a pre-assembled barebones desktop and some components.
Got a Sony Vaio plus tower case, 450-watt power supply, Intel motherboard with an Atom 1.6gig processor, a gig of 800 RAM, an 80gig SATA hard drive, HP lightscribe DVD burner, generic speaker subwoofer set (which kinda cranks, actually, 'cause the Vietnamese are HUGE on Karaoke....the louder, the better for them), and a PCI slot wi-fi antenna......oh, and it also came with a 16" widescreen flat monitor, keyboard, optical mouse and a 4gig USB flash drive.
5 million Dong....
....thass $275 to you and I.
It ain't great, but it's more than I need......
I have got a PDA (that I'm still trying to figure out), a drugstore, a skooter, a mechanic, a lifeline, a bank account, my cafes (there are no Pubs here as we know them....so if ya wanna pint or a vodka-tonic, ya go to a cafe.....don't ask)......
......I established all this in a foreign country 12 time zones away from where I had lived most of my life in a matter of 2 months.
Damm......gotta remember to pat myself on the back later.....
Still, a few things take getting used to. One example would be The Goddamm National Nap! What this is, is basically where everything and everyone (and I literally mean EVERYTHING and EVERYONE) shuts down between 11AM and 1:30pm everyday. They maul a quick lunch, and go to sleep.
This doesn't really work well for a person who goes to work between 4:30pm and 9PM, dies at 2AM and wakes up at 10AM, ready to accomplish a full slate of to-do tasks.
Riding a skooter in a land of no enforced traffic laws also takes getting used to.....and sometimes it's a pain in the ass keeping road-rage in check.....but ya got to - otherwise, it shows a loss of face.
Eating some variation of rice and/or noodles every Goddamm day wears thin quickly.....but, then again, so do I - I've shed 8 kilos since I got here, and my pants are literally sliding offa me and I have five buckle holes in my belt....I'm now at the fifth, and after that, the belt will be too large for me......
But still, Christ, I would easily commit homicide for an order of 20 Duff's wings or a Ziggy's steak sub or three Buffalo tacos.....their attempt at Western Food here in Hai Phong is......ahhhhh.....ahhhh.......
....we'll leave it at that.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Getting SOME grasp of the Vietnamese Language....though it's really painful to hear my attempt to speak it.....
List of Vietnamese words that I know.....
Like (as in, to like something or someone)
Beef Noodle Soup
Floor (like, as in the 6th floor)
Ox (or, Buffalo, as they call it here)
“Oh my God!”
New words are being added daily – check back and keep updated!!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
More cultural faux pas......
I was invited to have lunch at Tam's house. Over her mum's ribs, Tam was translating back and forth between her parents and I. I'm sure that something got lost in translation somewhere, but apparently, I was on a roll, and they were quite interested in what I was saying and were smiling at my attempts to narrate bemusing ancedotes and shoot out glib quips, and Tam translated to me that they said that "....'you have a winning tongue'....."
I ALMOST shot out - "Interesting.....a few ex-girlfriends of mine have said the same thing, and......"
Fortunately, said tongue got bitten by upper and lower teeth before such a comment was made....
Did an upper-level class on a topic of Korean movies ('cause, for some absolutely bizarre reason, the Vietnamese kids go total apeshit over anything Korean). I was given a list of six movies to research by one of the Vietnamese staff. Of course, the list was in English, and Googling them didn't give me many results. So I went into the class half-blind on the topic.
Now, this class is composed of about 12 girls and four boys. And after hearing the girls explain synopses with recurring themes, I blurted out "Oh Christ - I got handed a list of chick flicks!"
Jerry Brown look on the students faces -
"Right" I explained. "A Chick Flick is a movie with all of these same elements in it's theme. Waiii a sec - girls, help me here - now, on this list which I was given, we had films where a really well-heeled handsome boy ignores all of the high-society severe hottie chicks and falls in love with the poor, average looking-girl whose father is a blacksmith or a garbageman or something because she's fun and has a great personality. Right, we have also had films where a girl is in love with two or more boys and confusion, hilarity, and madcap zany hijinx abound! And we've also talked about movies where the girl was in a coma for a few years, or she had left the country for a while, and wakes up or comes home, and accidentally bumps her first high school love, but he's married......but then his wife isn't home one day and he sees a note that she left saying that she's left him for another guy, right? And they rekindle their love whilst trying to find each other all over the world. But no one EVER dies....otherwise, it ain't a Chick Flick....got it??"
Heads start nodding slowly.......
"OK...less lookie at this gem - called 'Boys over Flowers' - Now, who here has seen this movie?"
11 girls and one boy raised their hands.
"DUDE!!!! Put yer Goddamm hand down!"
"OK......OK....cool....cool....sorry about that - allright, Dude....now, did your girlfriend force you to see this flick??"
"No, I don't have a girlfriend......"
"Ahhhh......OK.....ahhhh.....lemme get my 15,000 Dong original, perfectly legitimate copy of "Gran Torino" back from Tam and I'll get that to you tomorrow.....'K?? We'll man you up yet......"
Had a particularly troublesome lower-level class (like, ten-eleven years old) a couple days ago...just obnoxious and wouldn't behave or shut up!!
So, as I was reading out of chapter 12 from the text, entitled "Holiday in Nha Trang"......
.....reminded me of something, so I started singing aloud - "It's a Holiday in Nha Trang....where you'll do what your told.....a Holiday in Nha Trang....where............."
Me singing started them smiling and giggling.....
"Cute, eh? Well....tell ya what - if you behave for the remainder of the class, I'll show you a video of that song. Sound good?"
So, during the last five minutes of class, on the 46" LCD screen, I played this link for them -
By the end of the video......oh man, you shoulda seen the pale, ashen look on the Vietnamese staff member's face who was sitting in the back of the class (this early 20's girl named Trang).......
The kids loved Jello, though.....
On the above mentioned computer, I had noticed on the website that it had stated that is had a DOS operating system. "Great," I figured ".....by the time I get a pirated copy mailed from the states, the computer will be obsolete! Oh well....time to toss Emperor Gates a hundred-fiddy for XP Pro."
So I hop to another computer store, ask for an operating system, and get led to the software counter and the guy told me to wait a while.....
Well I'm waiting there for 20 minutes thinking "What the fuck?? Is he waiting for a
U.S. mail shipment from Redmond, Washington for the Goddamm thing???"
Then......he tells me that it'll be 17,000 Dong (like, one U.S. dollar) and hands me this
burned CD of XP Pro SP2 wiff a product key sharpie-ed on it!
I laffed so hard, I alomst fell over....I mean, it was just so overt and normal, it was
bizarre!! Just bizarre....the guy and everybody else just acted as though he sold me a
candy bar or something!
And THEN, later that night, as I'm putting the hardware together and I fire my computer
It ALREADY magically HAS a copy of Windows XP Professional SP3 on it.....
LOTSA pics on the next post.....soon as I buy a new battery charger for my battries for my camera....