Yeah I know. But running out of titles for these things. I felt I should update things a bit after mentioning in August I may head back to California. There were some anxious moments for a few days until I met friends for dinner last night. I’m blessed to know people here. Friends and feels like family. Family in Vietnam is most important and the families go wide and include many. So here I am an uncle which is an honorific title. But on to the wash…
leaving or staying
It comes down to that really. Comes down to what I want. Put at a basic level I’m happy here and want to live here. Vietnam and Hanoi specifically cross the i’s and dot the t’s for me. There’s a warmth and wonder and life here missing in many places. Some would ask about language and difficulties. Of course there are. Others would wonder about cost and safety. I’ll say cost for things here is less. A bowl of pho which is breakfast food is about $1.35. A banh mi sandwich can be had from less than $1 to more. There are really nice sandwich places where I live that do Kebab sandwiches on toasted bread for about $1.75.
Safety is interesting. I got my phone stolen in Saigon but that’s there. Nothing ever has happened in Hanoi to me. I don’t particularly care for Saigon so I only go to see friends or transit through to the airport or bus stations. Hanoi is pretty much the place for me. I feel safe day or night here. Where I live is expat central. Where I lived before was government central.
So I mention some things people have told me over the years. Questions asked or concerns posted. I’d ask anyone is it any more dangerous or less safe than any other big city? San Francisco or New York? Chicago or Rome. By far the safest city has been Taipei but Hanoi feels comforting and accepting and the Hanoians are warm and welcoming. Can’t say the same for the legions of expats, digital nomads, and others not Vietnamese here. Somehow arrogance seems the rule of the day.
So what I’m getting round to saying is I’m staying. I’m getting what I want. What I need. After August 15th I’ll leave Hanoi for awhile and do a rail trip north to south here. I don’t know all the details or how long or where. I do know Vietnam in the days of Covid-19 and after is the safest to me. Hanoi offers the most to me of all things that are wonderfully, strangely and beautifully Vietnam. I don’t know how long I’ll stay either. Other places still beckon. Cambodia or Laos. Malaysia or Taiwan. Sri Lanka. So many places to leave steps in and take images out of still.
I also decided to write some longer content and host it on the blog here in a series of posts. Call them chapters or sections. I feel the need to tell a story. To encourage others to go. To let retirees know it’s not a choice of Burger King or McDonald’s on a Sunday. You can sit in the shade and have an iced coffee in a wonderful, chaotic, mesmerizing place. Have moments there. You may have to wait until this current fever burns out.
So look for a post soon on my humble story. It’s the beginning. Time does not exist. Beginnings can go forever or only last a snap of the fingers. It’s up to you. You own the moments.