Catching up in Hanoi

It’s been three months just about for me here. I normally would have to leave on 18 May for a visa run but traveling internationally is not happening. Cannot leave Vietnam now and if I could chances of getting back in are zero. The international air and land borders are closed and visas are not being granted. I will extend my visa in a few weeks and stay another three months. Many non Vietnamese people living here now are doing the same thing whether on business or tourist visas. It costs some money but I’ll get my passport back with a new exit stamp for August 2020. My desire then is to go to Cambodia and stay. I would get the retirement extension of stay for my visa there and get a year of multiple entries. I don’t think I would leave once I get the year visa extension. For me, living in Cambodia is not much different than Vietnam. I know how everything works there. Basic things like SIM cards, shopping, laundry and transit are very easy. Getting around between cities is easy with bus or air travel. The people are a joy to be with.

the wonder of the unknown

I had worried when the country got locked down what I would do. How would I go or stay in Hanoi when it’s completely locked down. I cannot slip away as I like to other friendly countries. I would be able normally to jet off to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and get 90 days visa free there. For awhile this bothered me. I came to the realization in one of my evening meditations that whether I got mad or feared it it would not change. So I let it go. Once I did that it became much easier to just take the day to day view.

I also realized some time ago I was much safer here. Vietnam has a handle on the whole virus thing. Now we have coffee shops, restaurants and markets open each day. School has started again for the kids. Some things we do not have here yet. Big malls and cinemas are not open. Bars are not open. Karaoke not open. I don’t much care for those things. Now my day to day is better so it’s easier to take each day. I go to the coffee shop I desire with some breakfast like a Banh mi or some pastry or some delicious fresh roti. I can sit and zone out and always feel welcome here in Hanoi. At our market the folks in the stalls are used to me. I know the stalls with the best mangos and pineapple. Today I went after meeting a friend for coffee and got pineapple, mangos and a bag of oranges.

The day to day pleasure of life is high in Hanoi. I have good Vietnamese food if I want or I go to an expat hangout for burgers and beer. Sometimes it’s satay and a baguette for dinner. I also know a good Mexican restaurant I will take some Vietnamese friends to next week. They really want tacos!

There really is no pain or difficulty here living with how I go about it. I just trust the Vietnamese government, police and army to do what they do. They never bother me and are very kind when they do the wellness checks every so often here.

So the wonder of the unknown is not a wonder really. It’s more of a rather nice and fun day to day thing with Vietnamese friends inviting me for dinner and coffee, checking on me because they worry, and just enjoying the freedom of my walking each day and not having the issues so present in other countries.

to today and only today

I got used to living in Southeast Asia years ago so the day to day works fine for me. If you are the type that plans or schedules or builds careful milestones of things it may be difficult these days. There just is only today.

I think it’s much easier and Hanoi’s a fun city regardless. One just has to take the day and spend it either wisely or foolishly. I don’t worry much about either way. In my meditation app they call it acceptance or equanimity.

Sounds good to me!