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Come sail away with me

November 11, 2010

I started this before I headed out of town, and was so busy relaxing I never finished it. Because of Jonathan’s cold and the rain on Con Dao, we were forced to spend a lot of time sleeping and reading. Also, the hotel only had two-prong outlets so internet time was restricted to the life of my battery. Not a bad thing.

Today is back to work for Jonathan, who thankfully seems to have rid himself of sickness.  I don’t think one person in our group has gotten exactly the same sickness as anyone else. Sometimes variety is not always the spice of life.

As I think about what I need to get done today, I feel like I am living in pre-internet times. Jonathan and I are going to Thailand over Thanksgiving with some of his good friends from California. I have tried for almost a week to buy tickets on I am tempted to not use this airline based solely on their website’s poor performance. It’s either a continual “busy” status or I make it all the way through the booking process, repeatedly refusing to select seats and meals for an fee, inputting all our personal information (Vietnamese and American,) and confirming my credit card payment – and it gives me an “ERROR: try again.” It’s infuriating. And they don’t answer their phones. Yet their prices are still several hundred dollars less than the alternatives. So today we will go to the ticket office downtown and try to book our tickets the old fashioned way.

That will be after I go to the bank downtown and do a paper money transfer, because even after many trips and several hours spent at the bank, they can’t figure out how to set up an international money transfer to our bank back home. I feel like I should go get on a boat with my wad of cash and row to Atlanta. Then I’ll row to Thailand afterwards.

Happy thoughts, Grace. Happy thoughts.

Over the weekend, I started feeling so much better. About half of our pilots in Saigon have combined their housing allowances and live near us in huge apartments with stunning views. Saturday night we visited the one known as the bachelor pad. In the hour preceding our trip across the road, we had two white-out rains. We considered taking a cab because it was still raining, but the cars and motorbikes going their direction (about 300 yards away from us) were completely stopped because the water was several feet deep on that side of the road. The median was lined with bikes trying to restart their engines after driving through the flood.



We had to walk the opposite direction to get to a place where the water wasn’t knee deep on the road, and even then, at one point, I waded about twelve disgusting feet in water up to my ankles. It’s a miracle I didn’t drown or get run over because I kept trying to take pictures of the chaos while carrying an umbrella and attempting to avoid the spray of motorbikes driving on the sidewalk. Crazy yellow hair white girl. It was worth the trudge through the sludge. I met a lot of new people, and it was a great time.

Sunday, we visited and enjoyed an international church. There is a huge variety of races and countries represented. The people were very friendly, exchanging information and offering advice and understanding for our new life here.  After that, we met two of our Hanoi friends who were in Saigon on a long break, and had some tasty pho ga. We ventured over to the Maximark, since it’s out near the airport, and quickly regretted not spending more time there before. While other stores only carried one, expensive can opener, the Maximark has many to choose from. I believe it is as close as you will ever get to Wal-Mart in Vietnam.

At the Maximark, we bought some new sheets. The ones that came with our place are of questionable color, and after several washings, still of questionable cleanliness. After much searching, I have decided it is easier (and less expensive) to find a wife in Vietnam than it is to buy a set of quality sheets with a fitted sheet and a top sheet. (Are Americans the only ones who use top sheets?) Our selection was based on the fact that the fitted sheet and pillowcases (which come in a set) were white with thin white stripes, and the separately sold fitted sheet was white with wide white stripes. Best match we were going to get. When we got them home, I dreamed I was at the beach sleeping on sand. They are that rough.

Before I go to town I must play the washing machine guessing game. The detergent bag does not have a scoop to indicate how much to use. The detergent drawer on the washer has three slots in it (I’m assuming one is for fabric softener) but no level markings. The settings dial has fabrics and times. Does more time mean more detergent? I usually do the Quick 30 option, but some of the clothes came out smelling funny recently so I’m wondering if I should be doing something different.

Such is the life of a housewife in Vietnam. And I’m loving it.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. The big brother from up north permalink
    November 11, 2010 13:10

    Don’t get your hopes up if you happen to find a Walmart in Asia. It is the worst supermarket around here.
    Top sheets must be a western thing. I designed and had my sheets made here per my bed here.
    I think I’d like to watch a whiteout from a porch swing (under a roof).

    • November 11, 2010 15:51

      I’m sure there will be at least one whiteout (per day) while you are here. We don’t have a porch swing, but we have a little balcony. Today when a storm came up we opened the windows and our ears popped. It’s crazy but awesome.

      Maybe you can help us get some sheets made while you’re here. Or you can sleep on sand 🙂

  2. Charity permalink
    November 11, 2010 13:56

    Just think how much more interesting your life is now that you’re in Vietnam… what would you write about if you were in America?!? 😉 Well, hopefully you’ll have some new friendly neighbors soon that can experience all this craziness with you. xoxo

    • November 11, 2010 15:06

      I’d probably still be writing about the lame life of a flight attendant 😉 I can’t wait til you’re here for some adventures.

      • Charity permalink
        November 14, 2010 15:03

        Me either!!!!

  3. Rebecca permalink
    November 11, 2010 14:48

    I just want to know what size sheets you need and what your address is 🙂 You might get a box full of goodies coming your way!

    • November 11, 2010 15:49

      You are so sweet, Rebecca. The sad thing is, we bought king sheets and they only fit sideways. Not sure if it’s a mattress issue or a sheets issue. I think it might be easier and cheaper to have some made. We’ll see…. 🙂

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