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Moving day

October 10, 2010

Today, we will leave this dungeon we have been living in and ascend to our ivory tower. The search is over, the bargaining is over, and the money is out of our bank account.

Thursday was, according to Jonathan, decision day. We went to the first of the two buildings we really liked. It was the one I was leaning more toward. It felt more Vietnamese while still being a quiet escape from the madness of the city. One of the places has two small balconies, which I really love, and the other had one big one. One was furnished more like a home, and the other was more of a furnished apartment – the basics and not much more. We decided to go for the smaller, but better furnished one (it had a fish tank!)

This was the day of the enormous storm I wrote about earlier, so while the electricity went off and on, we sat at the kitchen table with our realtor and the landlady discussing the contract. Everything was passed through the realtor. Either the landlady does not speak English, or she refuses to speak it. We wanted something in our contract covering us in case we are involuntarily sent back home. We don’t anticipate this happening, and hope it doesn’t, but want to be covered.

She wanted several months of rent at a time and a guarantee of six months before we would involuntarily leave. She said she was buying stuff for the apartment and didn’t want to put all that money in if we were leaving in a couple months. I asked what specifically she was referring to, because the apartment was almost too furnished. She said she was buying new linens for the beds. This is when I started realizing what a nightmare living there could be.

She was also very adamant about getting all the rent in USD and it must be cash. Evidently it is illegal to bank transfer USD into a Vietnam resident’s account. Later we learned that because of the instability of the currency here, all anyone wants is USD. They said, what if we take your deposit in VND and in a year it’s not worth the same thing, but we still have to return the same amount to you? We were also told that up until recently almost everyone here was using USD. I need to research it, but the government did a lot to get everyone to start using their own currency again.

We learned most of this from our second realtor. He is Vietnamese, but lived in the US for about fifteen years. His English is excellent, and everyone who has dealt with him feels he is easier to deal with since he understands our mentality. According to him, Americans want big kitchens and nice bathrooms. A lot of our colleagues had trouble with their realtors dragging them all over the city showing them places that did not meet any of their requirements. If I want a 3 bedroom, why are you showing me a loft?

We left the difficult landlady and went over to the ivory tower. We wandered around in the alleys and neighborhoods behind it long enough for me to feel like I wasn’t going to be living in Atlantic Station. We also found a pool hall, though I will be impressed if we can ever find it again. I was still a little bit sad about the lack of balconies, but everything else was looking good about this place.

We walked into the apartment, and I realized that somehow I had missed a little balcony off the second bedroom. It would only fit a little table and a chair, or two small chairs, but I’m just happy that it’s there. All of the windows open as well, so we’ll be able to enjoy the breeze.

This sealed the deal, so we agreed to meet the landlord next day to sign the contract. We had already met him once and enjoyed being around him. He is easy to talk to and lived in California for a while. After discussing the involuntary relocation clause for ages, we scratched it all and agreed on a sixty days notice in case either of us need out of the contract. It was so much easier than being offered all of our deposit except $500 if we stayed more than six months – or whatever her latest idea was.

We decided to wait until today to move, to give the landlord time to figure out why the refrigerator smelled so bad, and because Jonathan flew yesterday.  It was their first day operating with passengers on board. After doing a round trip to Con Dao and Phu Quoc, he came home with a smile on his face.

On Friday we went to a place here called Mark. It’s basically like Costco. It has everything, is cheap, and you don’t have to argue with anyone over the price. We would have to get a membership to shop there, but if you bring your passport you can get a day membership. The most annoying thing about the store is that the forklifts, instead of simply beep-beep-beeping when they back, play Fur Elise. Over, and over, and over, and coming at you from different angles at different times. One of our lovely, lady friends here warned us beforehand, “The store’s great, but after an hour of that tune, it’ll make you want to punch a baby.” She wasn’t far off.

So now, we’ll pile our dirty clothes back in our bags, and find a taxi who will, hopefully, take us straight there. We discovered the other day, the more baggage you have in the car, the more likely they are to give you the runaround. They know you can’t just get out and walk.


So long Bong Sen!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Tanya permalink
    October 10, 2010 11:53

    I almost spit out my coffee when I reached the part about the forklifts playing Fur Elise. I would probably get ran over thinking it was just someone’s cell phone! I am very happy you have found a place to settle into and the little balcony sounds like a perfect reading nook. Happy moving (again)!

  2. Charity permalink
    October 10, 2010 15:07

    Yay! The search is over! I’m so glad you guys found a place. I truly hope you love it and it feels like home. 🙂 I think it was wise to nix the difficult landlady… that could’ve been a nightmare! Enjoy getting settled in! xoxo

    • Rebecca Coffey permalink
      October 11, 2010 15:15

      I also agree that it was a great idea to nix the evil landlady. Ugh! Scary, that one sounded 🙂 So glad you found a place and can’t wait to hear more about it!


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