As it is and as it goes, we are drifting along in Vietnam in a steady ho-hum existance of work and home and work and play. We are in a pattern now, much like Taiwan and Canada before that. It doesn't seem to matter what part of the world you find yourself residing in, it always comes back around to the holding pattern. Karen is working at her new job and getting up every morning at 6:30 am, while I am getting up at 8am. This keeps us in most evenings or at least home reletively early. I imagine this will stay fairly constant until Christmas time when Karen and I will both have a month off and we head back to Thailand.
We still try and mix it up a bit on the week-ends, but it is much different here than in Taiwan. Taiwan had very few tourists and most of the people you met were expats who were sticking around for a while. Vietnam is a very transient place with most of the people we meet being tourists staying in Nam for a short time. Also, we seem to be attending exit parties for the few expats we do know every week.
At least we are not here alone. Karen and I are together and that is making all of this possible. If I was single, I would have fled Vietnam long ago.
I would not be exagerating if I said that the North Vietnamese hate us. This is something a tourist does not notice in the short time he or she stays. It is a realization that builds over an extended period. It is in a lot of little ways that accumulate and then become unmistakable. They actually hate us.
Many travellers and expats we meet all say the same thing, "It is better in Saigon." We have yet to visit Saigon and now that we have signed contracts it looks like we are stuck in Hanoi. "People are more laid back in Saigon." and "The people are friendlier" are the most common sentiments we hear from people who have lived in both places. This last one, which struck me the most was delivered in a whispered, conspiritorial manner and was simply... "They don't hate us in Saigon."
I hate to say it, but the feeling is becomming mutual in Hanoi for me. I think Karen and I need to think long and hard about relocating to Saigon. I am beginning to get very irritated here by the behavior of what I know to be only one portion of the population, but they are the biggest portion and that is what makes dealing with it so difficult. There is a huge amount of ignorant, uneducated, hillbilly, rural folk in Hanoi that move here from thier little communes and small towns. They are disgusting individuals who, like our own Canadian trailer trash, are always the loudest and most noticable in any given situation. The educated, more worldly Vietnames are wonderful, welcoming and kind people who are a pleasure to interact with. Unfortuantely, however, they are depressingly outnumbered by the ignorant masses.
Anyway, I am ranting, so thank you for allowing me my ventilation and I hope you enjoyed a little insight to where my mind is right now.