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Day to day life when Hanoi shuts down

It’s Sunday morning and we are into a week of general shutdowns of non essential businesses in Hanoi. This means coffee shops, restaurants, bars and other businesses are affected. Grocery stores and local markets remain open as well as pharmacies. The city parks are not closed and walking areas are busy in the evenings with people getting some exercise. Hanoi is a gregarious and social city with many coffee shops that are hubs and centers in neighborhoods. People enjoy mornings sitting out with coffees and reading the news on newspapers or their phones.

This has been curtailed for a week so most people stay in or go for walks. West Lake is a popular walking area here. There are also parks to visit and kids play outdoors all over. It’s just different than other social distancing rules in other parts of the world.

So what is a day like here for this old retired guy? Here’s a breakdown.

  1. Wake up with roosters crowing sometimes early on. Maybe at 4am. I go back to sleep but the noise is comforting and irritating at the same time.

  2. Up at 730 or 8am but sometimes later. I relax in the room until about 930am and then make some instant coffee and eat some pastry and fruit I bought earlier.

  3. The morning after coffee is spent being lazy in my room. For some hours I do nothing. Kinda like my regular retired life I guess 😀.

  4. At about 1pm I get outside for a walk. I want to do about 5 miles a day. I stay out walking until about 3pm and stop sometimes at parks with benches and sit.

  5. Dinner can be something like instant noodles or last night I got chicken satay at the local market and had with bread and an orange.

  6. Evening spent with YouTube movie and then reading on my kindle. Sometimes I write a bit or chat with friends. My daughter may call from Florida with depressing news about the virus.

  7. Bedtime is around 1130. Off to sleep and sometimes strange dreams.

So that’s a day for me in Hanoi Vietnam. I feel safer here than most other places. As evidence last night Vietnam immigration visited our apartment tenants and had copies of my visa and passport. They asked about my health, if I needed anything, and wanted to see my face mask. They also let the manager now they would check on us every week to make sure we are ok. I don’t know another country that would do this. And it made my yesterday so good! The Vietnamese government and city of Hanoi care about all people. I feel safer but not safe. I don’t think there is a place to be safe.

I also think about going to Cambodia. I want to go in May and spend a few weeks. During that time will get a retirement extension of stay for a year there which lets me enter and exit as I want. I think about going as I please to other countries I love like Malaysia. I really want that back. Will it come back as it was? I doubt it. Maybe the countries in ASEAN will develop mutual trust relations with their neighbors and we retiree expats can travel between them. Who knows?

It’s far beyond this day to day thing and what I can accomplish. Now back to my YouTube movie and my big cup of coffee.

Thanks for reading you all. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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