Mikes Thoughts

News, Views, Subterfuge

It’s nice to sit at West Lake for breakfast. Vietnamese iced coffee and a smashed avocado with bacon, tomato and egg on toast. It’s a cool morning here. The lake is always beautiful and peaceful even when storms alight and the rain falls. I’ve walked back in the rain so many times and glimpsed West Lake with the sun falling between lightning and thunder and rain. I would say it’s majestic and powerful and elemental here.

Now at the lake it’s peaceful and writing here this morning is a transcription of going and stopping and always still searching. The lake funnels back feelings across its depth and length. I can sit and only see. It’s a peaceful meditation this Friday at the lake. With the coffee.

There’s no rush ever to go or stop. At the lake mornings blend to afternoon and then an evening and night will show. Sun setting. Night arising.

At the lake. I can write silent poetry but it falls short sometimes like pictures. The picture on my iPhone captures one moment in time. Moments transcend all that.

And it leaves me in peace and stillness. This lake.

Today starts like most days here in Hanoi. Coffee in the room and some reading. I’ve sworn off the news from the US lately. So instead I read about books and mindfulness and other stuff.

Later today we have a schedule change! Going out for lunch with my friend Paul and the boss. We will do burgers down the street at my favorite place. Sunkats serves a mighty fine build your own burger. It kinda changes up the usual morning plan so I think some coffee by the lake a little later this morning will work for me. Maybe go to this bakery across the street and get some stuff to go with me.

I gave some thought to starting a second blog here or even trying again on micro.blog. There is no interest in either. One blog seems about all I can manage. I do like reading Maiques microblog a lot. I like the general idea of short posts or content a lot. I just cannot find the dedication or desire to have multiple blogs or try to define what would go where. If I were to go to another place to post it would be micro.blog. Then I would give up on write.as though and only post there. Truth is I like this place a lot and I came here from Wordpress to find a place just like this.

So burgers and blogs. Expat talk and a different day in beautiful Hanoi. It all comes about. At least the sunkats burger is not a micro burger 😂.

Been thinking on this all day. I am here on a year visa but the terms are to leave every three months. Then I come back for another three. Due to COVID-19 and how Southeast Asia responded countries are locked down here. Places I would normally go like Malaysia or Cambodia are closed. No idea when they open again. There is some movement and perhaps myself and a few thousand or so others will be able to go on a visa run and then come back in again if we wish. I would like to go to Cambodia for a year. Living there is not so much different than here. But...

Must live by visa laws. My 9th month is up in November and there are rumors of changes and only being able to get a month extension instead of three. I won’t stay for just a month. So the hopes are that Cambodia will open and allow this old retired guy back in. Or I have to go back to the US. I would not stay longer than 5 weeks to get my paperwork together to leave for Ecuador. There’s nothing for me in the US and I don’t feel I belong there.

So, in a month or so I find out if I can stay another three months. If so, cool. If not I won’t stay a month and I’ll leave in November. For somewhere.

Ain’t life wonderful! 😃.

Today decided to go to bakery down the street and be on their WiFi a bit plus eat some nice pastries. I got rid of three final notes in Bear. Moved them to Day One which suits me better. Cancelled the subscription and deleted the app on my iPhone and iPad. I’m not a note taker any longer after 20 some years being forced to use OneNote on enterprise programs and projects. I also don’t have todo items or reminders so I deleted ones that were there but are really not required by some date like,

  1. Get haircut
  2. Get vision test

Instead they went to my google calendar with some date assigned. Today I had vision test scheduled so I edited the event and added a week. Maybe in some weeks will get a haircut too.

Now it’s coffee at the bakery on a cooler morning. High 20s here today. Few days ago low 30s. I keep on thinking weather is gonna change to autumn but my Vietnamese friends tell me

Wait for it!

So okay. More times at the bakery on cool mornings. A 10 minute walk from my room by west lake. Motorbikes zoom by. Conversations down 2m from my table interspersed with laughter. Hanoi is a fun city. Day by day we go more days with no community COVID-19 infections. Here in Hanoi 22 days today. We do get imported cases but they are managed by border authorities at airports and land crossings. Perhaps I can go to Can Tho and Saigon in December. I’m gonna wait to book the flights until October. The entire cost is $55 to go from Hanoi to Can Tho and then Saigon to Hanoi. Hotels will be reasonable too.

My landlady shows up today at 1pm to clean my room and change bedding. I am forever grateful for her kind ways, always checking on me, making sure I have food and water. She never asks about beer though! Hahaha.

I’ve mentioned before it’s very easy to live here. There’s some getting used to time. Perhaps it helps to be flexible. Because it is,

Same same but different

On to the day. Moments and moments. Time no longer exists. Bring it on.

Nice combination. Two for one draft beer at the Ete Pub. Then a nice and cheap pizza and salad. Now I sit and just enjoy this little pub. Been here numerous times. Food is good. People are nice. Beer is cold.

I’m on the last beer and then head home. It’s a 30 minute walk from here to there. Done it many times. Day and night.

As the day spirals down to a last draft beer, thoughts spin sometimes. Back to other days. Like a year ago in Phnom Penh Cambodia drinking and eating by the river. A common thread. Eating and drinking. And walking. I could get a grab ride home for cheap but I prefer the warm Hanoi evenings walking. With beer or not it’s always so good to just see the neighborhoods and people. Tonight is no exception. Gonna head home soon. 30 minutes later walking I’m there.

It’s been raining since yesterday off and on. Now mostly on. Hanoi is awake and it’s coffee time in my room. It’s nice to open the curtains and watch the rainy morning come in and go out. Down the street from where I live I can get some bun cha or a little further reach Toms Coffee if I want that. Buying food and fruit is easy here. There are little stores up and down the street I live on. If the rain lets up later may go to a different coffee shop but I’m pretty set and lazy this morning.

This time of year the weather varies. Some days in the mid 30s and other days like this. By end of the month we will be approaching autumn in Hanoi. Weather will become cooler and dryer but still with some rain. September is kind of in between it seems to me.

The morning coffee and the rain and sometimes thunder perhaps heightens my desire to not go anywhere. I’ve been in Vietnam since February 18th. I have gone to places inside like Da Nang and a few times to Saigon. Flying domestically is pretty easy and cheap. I was looking at perhaps going south in December. I want to visit Can Tho down in the Mekong delta and Saigon again. The flights would cost me $55 total. I had decided to wait and let Vietnam get the second COVID-19 outbreak managed. They seem to have done that. We’ve gone a few days with no community infections. So I think now will go in December for a week or so.

I’ll only have a month left then in Vietnam no matter what. Don’t know what will happen. I do know by early February I will go. Hopefully to Cambodia. The US is not even a serious choice.

bun cha and coffee

I relocated to my local bun cha place for some food and then a small cafe for some Hanoi style iced coffee. The bun cha is always good and I love the bbq pork and noodles plus they know what i want. Nothing else is served there so it’s easy. I do like the iced tea there.

Coffee afterwards is at a local place too. The lady knows my drink so it’s always getting ready soon as I sit down.

and on

Now the rain lessens so the rainy morning part may lessen. I think later today will head to this expat pub for dinner and beers. It’s a nice walk from here and out of this district. Still see expats there. Pizza is cheap and good and two for one draft beers during happy hours.

I’m gonna sit with coffee and do what I usually do.


Yesterday went to what is called Mural Street in Hanoi. Very nice sets of murals depicting life, people, shopping. The street encompassing the murals is a nice walkway and you go from one to the next and then you see the explanation or the joint Vietnam and Korean effort to bring the street to life.

Here are some of my photographs from yesterday along with the city area next to mural street and my walk back. Very nice day in Hanoi!

today promises nothing

There’s nothing today besides finishing laundry and deciding on breakfast later. If the bun cha place is open could go there. Then perhaps a coffee shop after. Or perhaps a slightly longer stroll down the street to a Highlands Coffee.

It’s a beautiful morning here. We lost most of the rainy season and September is a preparation month for autumn in Hanoi. Cooler and dryer weather patterns will come. It’s one of the nicer times to visit here but international borders are closed still although there are rumors and rumors of rumors it could change.

Some reports are saying we could see limited in and out flights by end of the month. I think what they will do is allow a few flights coming in from Southeast Asian destinations first and a few to select countries. Cambodia is on the list like Taiwan, Laos and others. This way the belief is quarantine and health systems would not be damaged by an unmanageable influx of people and those leaving must show proof they have been in Vietnam for at least 30 days, probably get a test, and agree to quarantine. Who knows? I sure don’t.

It’s not a thing for planning or even considering too much. Just rumors and considerations from governments here to try to create plans in the future. Worthy of watching only.

In Hanoi the moments come together fast.

Today started as a pho bo morning. Then some Vietnamese iced coffee down the street. I still sit here reading a few things. I have a few bloggers I catch up not on write.as. Not so often any longer but I enjoy reading them. One has been around since blogging was a baby. I met Doc Searls when I worked at this Linux startup named linuxcare back in the late 90s. Then again when I moved with one of the founders to his blogging based website called technorati. Back then we all would journal and write on advogato. You could find the Linux luminaries there as well as many others. I always felt it was a step ahead. It’s gone now but it’s archive remains.

The Saturday memories are sometimes triggered by some old friend from those days virtually dropping by and asking about me. I ask them about what they’re doing. Some work at IBM,or Microsoft or Intel or HP while others are at canonical. Most do not blog any longer at all. Many are I guess notable developers on Linux. I was fortunate to meet them, manage them, and drink with them.

Back in the days of Google+ one could read the Linux man himself there writing updates. Linus would post either updates on his work on the kernel, diving, or other life pursuits. Now that’s gone too.

So all of this percolates around over coffee and a warm morning in Hanoi. One asked me why I continue to write a blog. From him, there is no upside to it. Honestly I don’t look for one. It’s only the creation and writing on write.as I enjoy. Tech comes and goes. Working at open source companies came and went for me. It’s nice though to still have the friends and every so often I read about them.

Today went for a nice walk first here in Hanoi. It was warm today and then we got brief rain showers. By later in the afternoon the sun had come out so I decided time to go. I ended up at my favorite Taiwan iced tea shop for the fresh fruit tea. It’s just delicious on a warm day. Yi Fang makes the very best Taiwan iced fruit tea ever. I get cut up fresh apples and oranges and I visit with the very nice Vietnamese girl working there. Her English is very good so we can talk. Today I got a discount as a repeat customer.

Then I headed back to home and stopped and got more drinking water and some coffee and dropped it off at my place. I walked over to the Italian restaurant we were initially gonna do but it was only open for take out. So I messaged my Vietnamese friends to meet at a bar and grill instead. They were the only Vietnamese people in there besides the team working. It was okay. I would not go back either by myself or with them.

After the food and beers we left. We decided the place was only ok. Then made plans to go to a pizza place in a few weeks that looks really good. We don’t do Vietnamese food too often. We did talk about a dinner out with some other friends at a Vietnamese place they want to take me to. Food and beer and the lake. Perhaps our dinner in October will be there. The nice thing about these very nice people is everyone speaks English so well we never use google translate to talk. We laugh and joke and tease each other with really good dinners and beer.

So that was my Friday evening out. Very nice to see my friends and I always get warmly greeted and hugged and told how much they miss me. Then it’s talking about Vietnam and food and life. Very enjoyable and relaxing and they will take care of ordering the food and drinks in Vietnamese.

Now back home. Tomorrow may go to the Hanoi citadel again. It’s a nice walk from here and it’s one of the many historic sites in the city listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Good night from Hanoi Vietnam. My home until it’s not.

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