We got more than that today. I got soaked so I headed down from the Imperial Citadel to a friendly coffee shop I spied. The young waiter welcomed me with big smiles and let me see their menu which was in english so easy to order. But I already knew what I desired. I wanted a coconut coffee. A wonderful elixir mixed different ways in different places. Here is mine.
Yes! A thing of indescribable joy and wonderful taste that I made last until the rain decided to stop and I could then walk the few miles home or so. I kinda know Hanoi so I don’t need the map as much. I had hoped to get to the Mausoleum today walking and then over to West Lake but that did not happen. I still have a few days to reach some places by walking that are farther away. I think there are two or three to get back to:
- Temple of Literature. Turtles and beautiful architecture and a very nice walking area to see. I love visiting the temple. Last time there were students graduating that visit for luck and fortune. If the turtles look up its good times and if they look down its bad times. Of course they are in stone so the students probably visit both because life is made of good and bad times and to know good I think you have to get through bad.
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, park, and gardens. I love the Mausoleum area here in Hanoi. Its a wide block very accessible and then there are the gardens and park areas to wander through. One can spend some hours seeing the sights there if desired. I like walking to it because its a good walk and there is no real reason to not walk in Hanoi if one is careful and watches the traffic (motorbikes).
- Last Look at West Lake. I do not know when I get back to Hanoi so I will get to West Lake but truth is I can get there from the Mausoleum by walking. Its a decent walk from the Mausoleum park to the southern part of West Lake.
I hope the weather holds out part of each day to let me get these things crossed off my would like to visit list. I have seen all these before and in some cases numerous times but they all form a different Hanoi to experience than the cramped Old Quarter.
After Monday I am back in my part-time home in Cambodia for a week. I want some down time there and to be able to see some expat friends and have a few beers along the riverfront, visit the museum, and just enjoy being back around the Khmer people.
I will leave for Laos on 2 September and be gone three weeks so that is the next thing. Once done with that I have a few weeks back in Cambodia to get my retirement extension redone and then on 18 October I leave for about 7 months. I’ll be seeing Taiwan, Philippines, the good ole USofA, and wonderful Morocco, Turkey, Egypt and Dubai. I’ll get back to Phnom Penh around 10 June 2020 and then will spend a month getting a new passport and deciding what happens. I have really considered getting a year long tourist visa for Vietnam and spending longer times in Saigon, Da Nang, and Hanoi. I think Hanoi could fall off the list though. I don’t have as much reason to return to Hanoi.
It will be something to go back to the US again after two years. I think it will be culture shock in a big way. My friend Lauren I met here told me it would be. She’s a fellow American living in Southeast Asia. She was troubled, uncomfortable, and lonely back in the states. I only have three weeks there but I think I will have trouble there acclimating to how life is.
Finally, if you have ever wondered if you are an expat or retiree living elsewhere, I was able to renew my California driver’s license online and have the address be a Texas address. I got the forms yesterday at my mail service in Houston and they scanned the letter into PDF and I can download it and see what is what. So I got a new driver license online this morning. Its ID I guess so its good. I’ll have it shipped to my ex-wife’s house when it arrives at my mail service.
That’s about all that’s fit to report. Days are ending in Vietnam. Mix of good and bad feelings. Will miss some wonderful people here. Many things have happened which have let me question 2020 more. Perhaps more on the questions and answers later. Some are incredibly personal to me so I probably won’t reveal those.