Sunday, April 5, 2009

Learning By Losing (Direction)

Man, it's been a wild day-and-a-half (I guess... time isn't making sense right now). The last post here was thrown up fairly quickly as a "we're alive, please don't call the embassy" courtesy, and sadly this one has to go up quickly as well. I have to zip over to the 'ol Hanoi Daewoo to meet Andrea for lunch in just a few minutes, and since I'll be taking a moto taxi (called "cuddle taxis" in Vietnamese, because, well, you cuddle the driver) this may well be my last living act. The Xe Om, as they're called, are just that much fun. Oh, and speaking of Andrea, this conference thing is kind of a big deal, as the picture below proves. Signs like this are all over town.

Anyway, I'm finally getting my grips on this town. Well, the old quarter anyway. Which is no mean feat, considering it's a rabbit warren of winding streets, agressive scoot drivers and an architectural hodge-podge that really lacks distinguishing landmarks. How have I become more comfortable getting around? By getting lost first. Last night, as Andrea succumbed to the first sin of jet lag (5pm bedtime) I took off looking for a power adaptor. It turned out I didn't even need one (I'm an idiot) but the 6 hours of blind wandering has done wonders for my navigation (and language) skills. Today when I went to buy plane tickets for Cambodia, I wandered out of the Old Quarter (accidentally finding the Uncle Ho-saleum)and got lost again, but a Xe Om ride to Hoang Kiem lake brought my bearings back instantly. And all for one dollar and a little terror. I haven't been properly lost since.

Speaking of Xe Om terror, lunch with Andrea (and a little pre-meal colon-clenching on the back of a Honda Wave) beckons, so I'll have to cut it off here. I'm having an amazing time and our travel arrangements for Cambodia are taken care of, so there's plenty more blogging to come. I'll at least post some pictures later this evening. Until then, Tam Biet!


Stephanie said...


Great to hear you're off and running in Hanoi. Have a fantastic time. Love, Paul

Stephanie said...

The REAL Stephanie says...I love your first posts and the pictures are great!

I'm very impressed that you've managed to learn some of the language already. (channeling Nana; "You are NOT an idiot,dear, you are the most intelligent person ever to walk the earth!)

Good luck with those cuddly, butt- clenchy taxi rides.

Love to you and Andrea,


daveJ said...

So glad to hear you guys landed and are underway!

Sounds like an exciting time - I hope it all continues to shake out well.

Much love,