Mikes Thoughts

News, Views, Subterfuge

Back in July I had planned this trip to go back to the historic city of Hue Vietnam. The city has wonderful local food choices, it was once the capital city of Vietnam, and also has the forbidden city and the citadel. One can get lost in the historic parts of the city and wandering the palaces. Back in 2018 I visited the city for a few days. Here’s some photos from then. I also visited three imperial tombs of different historic emperors then. That required an all day tour so I won’t do that again.

Now my trip happens next week starting Monday. I managed to get the same hotel as before. It’s a really nice place with included breakfasts but right down the street are coffee shops, breakfast spots and street food stands to get the usual suspects like banh mi.

I figure I will spend one day wandering the historic sites in Hue taking pictures again and the second day just wandering the city. The last day will finish up and prepare to leave. Food is prominent so will have to have some bun bo hue again.

I get back Thursday next week and then leave the following Monday on my weeklong trip to central and southern Vietnam. Will be visiting Quy Nhon, Saigon, and Can Tho. Part of the requirement now for domestic travel is a health declaration before boarding domestic flights or buses. It’s done online before going. One must also wear masks the entire time on the flight. None of the flights are very long and I’m used to face masks every day here.

These two trips are the only things planned now although in December I may go to Saigon to see my friend H. Then the new year rolls around and my time is lessening here.

Now it’s gonna be some coffee in the room and then I think Toms cafe for some comfort food. I like to comfort myself and eat the pancakes there. Hahaha. It’s Monday here and it rained most of the night. Still rather cloudy out. Daily weather now is cooler and the range of temperatures is about 25 at night to 29 day times. Pretty nice!

Have a good week! Take care and be safe out there.

This early morning it was rain. Raining hard and lasting for hours very early. By the time I left for coffee and pastries the sky had moved to wonderful clouds puffing and huffing around to the beat of cool breezes. I went to a bakery and met four very nice Vietnamese people that shared my table. We talked for over an hour about Hanoi, food, beer, covid and Vietnam’s successes battling the disease, and work at the very end.

Two of the people spoke English very well. The woman had worked at a Vietnamese news broadcast tv station and the young man was in tourism at a hotel before but now worked in IT customer service and support. Hanoi as I have mentioned is a very social and personable city. It’s not the largest city but it is the capital city. Saigon holds the largest population but it is not the most personable or social city I don’t believe. Hanoi has this spirit and soul missing in the skyscraper heart of Saigon. They agreed too but also admitted they could be biased as they are from Hanoi originally.

I always love meeting Vietnamese people wherever I end up. Smiles, laughs, discussions about food and beer, tourism and they are inquisitive, charming and authentic people. Finding out I’m retired always adds to the conversation topics. Where have I been? How long in Vietnam this time? Favorite foods. What is America really like? I answer all honestly. And perhaps with my bias about the current situation in the US.

Then we parted ways and we exchanged names and they moved to an unoccupied table as I left. They all waved and said goodbye as I left.

then back

Back to the room but a quick stop for some groceries needed. Then some hours of nothing. I am quite good at that. Now it’s getting to be time for dinner. I think some fried rice and Saigon beers will go good. No big walking endeavors today. I’m kinda lazy.

I also listened to some sci-fi audio books on YouTube. Those are really fun to listen to and with no real commercial interruptions. Now it’s time to go I think. Evening beckons out the window. Cold beer and a walk to a cafe by west lake. Then back to more of less.

Hi all. I took some days off from writing here. Felt pretty good but I missed you all. Hahahaha. I had considered changing to a micro.blog site and moving the domain over there but truth is write.as is stuck with me and I like it here. I also cannot manage multiple blogs so I won’t do a micro type blog where something is written and then this place where something else is written. I don’t know the dividing line between one and the other or how people do it. So since I just write here as I please and do longer and shorter blogposts it seems the best use of time to just write here. I’m old and get confused easily😃. I do like how Maique manages and writes on his micro blog though. I like some of the community aspects of it too. It just comes down to where and when. So it’s here and now and not different blogs for whatever long and short form writing entails.

in other news

iOS and iPadOS 14 landed and I’ve been playing a lot. I love the new releases and have a few widgets on my iPhone 11 Pro. When I did android I was never into widgets there either so minimal is the rule. The iPad Air is more staid so I do very few. I do like the concept of stacking widgets but I don’t do it. I really like the privacy and security aspects but long ago went to end to end encryption for sensitive things like my end game for all stuff Day One. I gave up awhile ago on notes applications since I see no use to them for me. I also don’t have reminders or todos so I don’t need a notes or reminders app to track those. Finally I do not do knowledge management or second brain things. I tried the Notion app and it’s too much and too little. So in the need of simplicity I boiled it all down to a single thing except for a markdown editor to write this stuff. Now I am using 1Writer but also have iawriter and pretext. All three do what I need. Simple writing, focus on the words, file based. I don’t want something in some database. I want the files. The beautiful clear text files!

Finally in other news I’m gonna be leaving for a little trip in two weeks. Going to central and south Vietnam to be the tourist. In the longer range of vagabonding around things seem to be edging toward countries slowly opening here. Life in Vietnam is pretty safe. We have not had community infections of covid in weeks and the remainder of the cases are imported where people are returning from other countries and are put into quarantine and tested immediately. The borders are not open for tourism and it’s been that way since March. Only special cases and repatriation flights can get in.

finally...

So that’s about it for now. Hanoi is getting to autumn and the weather is a bit unstable. One day beautiful clear skies in the low 30s and the next thundershowers all night. Interesting but like the saying goes,

when it rains the best thing you can do is to just let it rain

Or something like that. Now I’m back. New batteries charged and thoughts on my last months here to come. All good for the blog since it’s based on the no plan plan and just going and changing as I want.

I’ll be writing on my little trip here to see some Vietnamese friends and one new city. Also the usual stuff about Hanoi and the occasional link to some photographs of what I see here.

I decided to not mark the blog as private. Instead I’ll leave this post.

I’m not going to be updating the blog for awhile. I hope to come back and start writing again in the future.

Take care and be safe all. Best from Hanoi Vietnam.

I’ve decided to depart write.as for awhile. I really like the platform and creativity here. Soon though will mark this blog as private again and engage in nothing else for awhile. I’ve been involved with blogging since about 1998. Have always stopped when it felt I was going in a direction I did not want.

I don’t know the date exactly I will make the change but I need a break. Perhaps after some time I’ll decide to write here again.

Appreciate everyone that followed my small steps through Southeast Asia and retirement. At a time maybe I’ll return with a gas tank past full. Now it’s empty and I don’t wish to do this any longer.

In October I’m going to Quy Nhon city in central Vietnam and south to Saigon and Can Tho. I had planned this week long endeavor to see friends that live in all three cities but I decided to wait until Vietnam reached a threshold with community infection cases of COVID-19. We’ve gone three weeks just about with no new community cases! Way to go Vietnam!

I’ve never been to Quy Nhon but it’s looking beautiful! I’ll spend three days visiting my friend L there. She works at a boutique hotel there. Beaches and a tranquil city by the coast. Fishing and food!

After my days there I fly to Saigon. It’s probably my least favorite place so I will spend one night there. I have a few things to do there. There are lots of good restaurants and coffee shops there. It’s also where my iPhone was stolen last time.

After one night I hop a bus to Can Tho in the Mekong Delta to see another L and party with her and her friend T. Can Tho is fun and a big change from Saigon. Wonderfully slower with small side streets to explore with so many cafes and shopping experiences.

Then I fly from Can Tho back to Hanoi. All of this flying cost me $73. The hotels are either cheaper or cost a bit more. Probably will spend about $200 on all three hotels. Food will be the same. Cheaper just for me and more expensive since I will take my Vietnamese friends out for dinners all the time.

There are a few other places I still want to go up north. One is Haiphong. That would be a train or bus trip from Hanoi. It’s about three hours on the train. It’s a big port city so urban photography could be fun there. Will have to see when I want to go and buy train tickets and a hotel for a few nights.

then February comes

Since I don’t quite know what happens next year, gonna try to get around inside Vietnam before then since flights and stuff are reasonable. I may go to Saigon one more time too. Who knows but will try to fit things in before February arrives.

In other news, we are going out in a week for hotpot Vietnamese style. This should involve Frog and spicy hotpot mix. And beers. Looking forward to it.

then?

That’s a question but no one knows. Can’t really dwell on it so intend on doing the short trips inside Vietnam since it’s so easy and cheap and then will let February come on in. I’ll leave then but I don’t know where or really even when. It’s been the way of things for years in Southeast Asia for me. The no plan plan.

It’s Wednesday night here in Hanoi. I walked here and there and found a restaurant I really liked for food. Finding food in Vietnam is not difficult.

Then more walking and ending up for Hanoi beers by the lake. It’s the usual spot. I sit at a table and slowly more and more Vietnamese people show up. Vietnamese people are very social and gregarious types. They love their coffee, food, and beer. Lots of friendly nods and smiles. Many xin chào from everyone. Beer flows. Talk flows. I just sit and watch the lights from the skyline that reflects on west lake. Hanoi is a beautiful city. It has it all. Small neighborhoods and malls. International cuisine and pho shops. And the coffee! Oh the coffee culture here.

There is food on just about every street corner. Cheap food.n Truth is street food is on every street. From satay to noodles to Banh mi. All there. Local markets always are good. Fruits are incredible. I can find delicious Vietnamese oranges, mango, and pineapple year round here. There are also imported fruits like grapes and apples.

But tonight its Wednesday and its beers. Now I’m home and I stopped and got a few more cold Hanoi beers and some local chips I picked at random. So I’ll drink and listen to music. I’ll consider how it is here. Safer. We have not had a community case of COVID in weeks. Social distancing is relaxing. Bars are opening again. Hanoi glistens. People laugh. Its safer. Just not safe. Nowhere is. But I’ll take this. Open that beer.

Thanks!

Sunday morning early the rooster let me know he was on the job. There are a few that start early and sing their morning solos to waning night and arriving day. When I first got here it took a bit to get used to it. Most mornings I sleep through the melodies. Today though they were insistent. I can hear them saying,

wake up the old retired guy

Now it's a morning with blue skies after an evening of rain and thunderstorms. I'll finish up my latte at Toms Coffee and decide on maybe a YouTube movie or continue reading. Sundays are slower here in Hanoi. Many shops and restaurants closed. So it's nice to dawdle over my coffee and their excellent WiFi. Later will walk somewhere. Never really know where I go when I set out. Often though I stop for the Taiwan iced tea and maybe a banh mi for dinner. Food is not a challenge here.

September will roll by in a few weeks. Could be my last full month in Vietnam in October. Or I may get a final visa extension and stay to February. No matter what I'll go for a week to see my L and then to Saigon and Can Tho to see another L. Worrying about visas or dates really does not work well. Too many unknowns. And there are ifs. If this. That could be.

My desire is to move one country over to Cambodia in November. I can live there pretty much like here. An apartment is about $200 a month. Sometimes WiFi and electric included. Other times you pay. Phnom Penh has a lot of nice restaurants and some friendly people.

But who knows. So I just do as I have done since landing here February 18th. Go day by day. It works well. Sunday is easy. Coffee is fresh. Beer last night was cold. My housemate asked for a beer. She always replaces with more. It's a beer by beer thing 😃.

Have a wonderful day. Try doing less and saying you did more. Maybe it will work.

Sometimes a thing lost turns up again in an unexpected turn or twist. Once going through a car I was parting with I found a business card from the way back .com years working at a Linux startup. Under a seat, tucked away, folded in half. Like memories sometimes. Maybe I tuck them away in odd corners and beer makes them come out.

There is a person once in my life that way. Perhaps placed in some memory container that I would journal on or look at pictures of. She worked at a hotel in Saigon as a receptionist and it’s how I met her. We would go out when I came back and I would always stay at her hotel. She was fun, sometimes crazy, always Vietnamese stubborn. So that picture was opened again courtesy of Facebook and beer. And things seemed not much different than how we left them before. Dinners out at Korean bbq or a hotpot place. Coffees together. Now we talk about the months since we saw each other last. She is in another town in Vietnam working. I can go there easily. Booking a flight,getting a room at her hotel for a few nights easy. Even the opening of the memory was not that hard. Messaging her on Facebook messenger was a moment stuck between the now and then.

Finding the lost whether a business card or a person can be good and bad and both. Those moments locked away in a vault had its lock opened. Not so dusty or old. It’s why moments are better than time. A moment goes as long or short as you want or need. Time slips away with the sweep of hours and minutes.

Sometimes better to just lose the lost forever. Like a declined call. It happened but it’s gone on google voice. Who? I don’t know. Same with some people. They are like declined calls. They are there but soon consigned to the vault of the lost not being found again.

Not this though perhaps. And I’m glad.

It's getting dark sooner in Hanoi now. Just a beautiful day here today. Sunny skies, warm temperatures. Now evening decides to show up. I'm sitting at a park as the street lights come up. Motorbikes honking their song. Busses sing some impatience. People out walking, running, watching their kids practice on bikes.

Today I walked at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. There are no bikes or busses there. Closely patrolled and the walk is a long parkway many people will walk. To get in temperatures are taken, sanitizer dispensed and face masks required. Back and forth in increments we go. Peaceful and serene walking. And rather safe. I've never felt unsafe In Hanoi even when offered a boom boom by a female grab driver. More recently pleasant massage offered by a rather cute girl. I declined. She walked with me for a bit. Telling me her story. Asking me for mine. Yes! She did speak really good English. But she went her way and me mine and they were not the same.

Next is dinner. And beers. And maybe more beers. It's Friday night and some Truc Bach beers and old movies sounds good. To the little store I go after this.

Good night all. Enjoy. I will!

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