Monday, June 28, 2010

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Angleterre - Allemagne (England-Germany)

Depuis le debut de la coupe du monde, Dan et moi nous demandons a chaque match "Mais OU sont les gens???". Les bars d'expats sont a moitie vides, ou sont les supporters?

Oui... on les a trouve hier soir. Ils sont tous dans un restau cache sur Xuan Xieu, a deux minutes de la maison, qui de l'exterieur ressemble a un quatre etoiles posh posh, pas notre genre... mais dedans, a l'etage: une grande salle sympa avec bar et ecran geant. Et 350 expats excites qui hurlent devant l'ecran. AAaaa! Enfin, un peu d'ambiance.

Suis rentree a la maison a la mi-temps. Heureusement, parce que l'Angleterre s'est pris 3 buts dans la deuxieme partie du match, et que je n'aurais pas pu gerer le volume d'une telle deception! J'ai mis un quart d'heure a PARTIR du bar tellement on etait tous esquiches. :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Enfin je reviens vous donner des nouvelles, le rythme de mon été vient de se calmer, et il est temps de me remettre à mon clavier.
Il fait chaud à Hanoi. On passe nos journées de pièce climatisée à pièce climatisée, et quand par malheur on se retrouve dehors plus de dix minutes d’affilee, c’est la suée garantie. Sur la moto, encore, on est dans la vent... ca va. Mais à pied ou meme assis sans bouger, dans cette chaleur humide, c’est l’enfer.
Depuis deux semaines on vit au rythme de la coupe du monde. Les matchs ici sont à 18h30, 21h00 et.... 1h30 du matin. Dan se leve religieusement toutes les nuits et jure sans fautes tous les matins quand son réveil sonne à 7h00 et qu’il doit aller travailler. En ce moment et jusqu’a fin Juillet, Dan travaille dans mon école, de 8.30 à 17h30 tous les jours, et moi je travaille à la maison et dans une autre école le week end. C’est un peu le bordel cet été, mais en empilant autant d’heures, forcement, les finances vont bien.
Le soir on se retrouve pour une glace devant le lac puis on rentre ou on va au bar regarder le foot. Je vous mets des photos du spot préféré des Hanoiens les soirs d’été : les cremes glacées devant le lac de l’Ouest. (sur la photo, Dan se tient sous un signe « Kem Ho Tay = glaces du lac de l’Ouest.) On en revient le tout de suite d’ailleurs : une petite glace devant le lac, et le je vous écrit devant le match Uruguay-Korea.
Demain je travaille toute la journée dans ma nouvelle école, un petit batiment perdu dans des dédales de ruelles Hanoiennes à l’autre bout le ville, au milieu de marché ou les poulets se font plumer et les chiens se font rôtir sur broche, juste devant la porte de l’école. J’adore! :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Computer Street

As I have previously mentioned, Hanoi's streets are often categorised based on the goods or services they offer. I don't usually refer to a street based on it's actual name, instead using it's practical name; for example, shoes street, food street, chicken street, phone street, white goods street and computer street.
I have had numerous computer problems since arriving in Hanoi and I have found these awesome guys on Ly Nam De Street or as I call it; computer street. They have helped me replace a screen, reload my operating system, replace something to technical for me to explain and most recently remove a virus which had removed all our pictures. The cost, with the exception of the screen, has never been more than $15. Sometimes the guys have worked on the laptop for hours. The virus, which Celine and I were stressed about, took about 15-20 minutes to fix and they charged us nothing. We were very happy.
What's even better is that they don't only offer a computer service. In the glass shelves on the left hand side of the shop you will also find running shoes, jeans and diet pills. It's an unusual choice of goods for sale but if you have a problem with your keyboard and also want to lose weight then this is the place for you.
Thanks guys. You're awesome!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

No Electricity

There is only one thing worse than painfully hot weather and that's painfully hot weather with no electricity. In the past week we have had several power cuts, one lasting an entire day. I have received numerous reasons for the power outages however i think I found the main cause in a recent article I read. Apparently, in preparation for the 1,000 year celebrations of Hanoi the government is doing maintenance work on a number of the energy grids. This is going to continue until the end of June. Sometimes the power is out for only a short period and some much much longer. It is definitely not the most opportune time with temperatures hitting 40 degrees.

Our house is like a sauna and I sweat just sitting down watching TV. Our air-con investment has been a life saver and we still live under it when we are not outside. The joy of the power outage is that you don't know when it is going to happen and often for how long. We came home late last night, after watching the Australia game, to find most of our neighbours sitting on an old cement pipe at the end of our lane way. There must have been twenty of them, all from nearby houses, waiting for the electricity to come back on. We said our hellos, as we know them all pretty well now, and went inside. It was terribly hot and we went to bed feeling rather uncomfortable. We looked up at our Samsung air-con, willing it to come back on. About ten minutes later the BEEP BEEP sound arose out attention and the wonderful little green light flashed. We were saved but the question is; for how long?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Safety First

I think there is one think that both Celine and I dread most about living in Hanoi and that is the prospect of getting the "phone call". I talked to Celine briefly about meeting for lunch and 15 minutes later I received another call from a girl telling me Celine had been in an accident. It is a heart wrenching feeling. I was reassured at first that Celine was OK but when I talked to her a few minutes later she couldn't remember where she was. What's worse, I didn't really know where she was and she couldn't explain.

Luckily, someone saw the accident and took her back to the school where she worked. I was able to find my way there where Celine was resting. A women was riding very fast when Celine was approaching the end of a lane way, coming right towards her, causing Celine to fall. She hit her head, the impact evident on the white helmet above, and grazed her arm and leg. The helmet was a godsend and it could have been so much worse but we realised quickly we needed better protection. The majority of helmets in Hanoi are terrible. You can buy them on the side of the road from about $2. It is the law to wear them, so there is a market and the Vietnamese generally opt for the cheap option.

We found a company with international accreditation for helmets, exporting globally. We bought two helmets for about $60 which really doesn't break the bank. As far as we know there really aren't much better helmets you can get. For anyone living in Hanoi I strongly recommend investing in a good helmet. They don't cost much and can save you serious harm.

Celine is feeling much better know, that morning still very blurry. She is back on the bike, with her new helmet, taking extra precautions. You can control what you can do on the bike but the problem is you can't control others. Her cuts are slowly healing; not helped by the fact that I keep (accidentally) bumping them. Sorry!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Working at the World Cup

My crazy few weeks of work and study have come to an end which means I can get back to the things I enjoy; writing on my blog and watching football. At the start of June I began my two month contract with Language Link (my first actual contract since being in Vietnam). The contract is a full on Summer session of teaching which keeps you at school all day from Monday to Friday. Because I was starting at a new school I had to wind down my current hours. This couldn't be done immediately and resulted in a two week transition period where I was teaching most nights as well. I was also working Sunday's so it is fair to say it was quite busy. Celine, the legend, covered the Saturday classes so I could have one day off.

I used the Saturdays to study for my two exams; Commercial Law and Business on the Internet. Exciting, I know. I study through Deakin Uni by distance learning and sit my exams in Hanoi. It was a hectic two weeks and as a result I had no time to post or really do anything else. I finished my exams last Tuesday and stopped covering the night shifts around the same time. I am very happy to be able to relax a bit now but I am not complaining - the few weeks were good for the bank account.

Now I have replaced the tiredness from the teaching with tiredness as a result of watching the World Cup. With the time differences it means games are showed in Hanoi at 6.30pm, 9pm and 1.30am. The first Australia game was at 1.30am so I went to sleep for a few hours and got up to watch the match against Germany. I should have stayed in bed. Our TV has all the games but every pub or cafe has it playing as well. The atmosphere watching the games is not that great but the Vietnamese love football and are talking about it constantly. Australia's all important match against Ghana is tomorrow so I hope we put in a better performance.

Well, that is what I have been up to. I am still working Monday to Friday and Sunday in the daytime, until the end of July, but I am happy with that workload.

Come on the Aussies!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

motorbike crash

Did you know that driving in Hanoi is dangerous??
Well, I found out last week when I crashed, fell on my head and woke up with no memory of what I was doing there or what I had done the whole morning. I ended up in hospital and then spent a few days in bed with a mighty headache.
Glad I was wearing a hel met… not about to NOT weat one, ever!
I’m back on the bike now, a lot more wary though to be honest, and going ve-ry slo-o-o-ow… takes forever to get anywhere, but hey my life is worth it!

J’ai eu un accident de moto la semaine derniere, je me suis casse la tete sur le beton et ai fini a l’hopital avec un traumatisme cranien… ouille. Depuis je vis avec un mal de tete permanent et bien que je sois remontee sur ma moto, je suis plus prudente.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer of suffering

Summer has began and for us it means working. We have committed most of our available hours to teaching and since June 1, that is all we have really done. The next two weeks will be hectic with day and night teaching schedules however after that the nights will stop. Celine is working at three schools and me at two. Celine is also working on another project, teaching related, which is keeping her well and truly busy.

My aim is to get back to Australia for a few weeks at the end of August so the extra hours are welcome. The only problem is that I have final exams coming up in two weeks and the World Cup is soon to start. That is a lot to fit into a short period of time so unfortunately something will suffer as a result. I have a feeling that the blog may just be that thing. If there is a post drought over the next few weeks we are terribly sorry and can only point you in the direction of the 200+ insightful and wildly entertaining articles written to date :)

I must venture off now as I have 4 classes to prepare for tomorrow day and two in the evening.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Calm in the storm

The weeks to come will be very busy, I’m not sure how we will manage to post anything at all, but Dan seems confident enough… you probably won’t hear all that much from me but I promise I’ll try to say hi as often as I can.
I try to keep calm in the midst of so many hours of work in so many different settings, I try to keep organised but some days it just gets to me nonetheless.
So this morning I went to my first meditation session, at Zenith’s Yoga: one full hour of undisturbed meditation in a group, just trying to quiet the mind, followed by 75 minutes of Yoga. It was a great start andd I felt relaxed the rest of the day and I even got lots of work done.
Tonight, I went back to the Yakushi clinic, where I usually go to get acupuncture, which by the way works wonders on me: I have more energy, more motivation and I am a lot more positive about the upcoming weeks since my acupuncture session last week, where I was treated for feeling overwhelmed and stressed too easily… anyway I went back today for a massage: a lymphatic drainage or 60 minutes of pure relaxation with followed benefits such as detox and elimination of water retention. It costs hundreds of euros at home. It cost $10 here. Dan came too, he got a Qi massage and met my adorable and oh so insightful doctor, Dr Thuy. It was amazing. I love my new found holistic ways to relax, our philosophy of making moments for ourselves even when everything around us is crazy busy and I love Vietnam!