Thursday, February 21, 2008

House Hunting in Hanoi

TET is a strange and unusual holiday that all but shuts down Hanoi for almost two weeks. This left it impossible for me to pursue employment or housing for that period of time. Also, the real estate situation is unique as well. How it works here is that you need an agent that is your go-between lessors and lessees. Without an agent there is no way to view or acquire a place to live. Also, owners have to be licensed to rent to foreigners and the agent makes sure everything is on the up and up. In the past month we have gone through 7 different agents and seen a bevy of overpriced, wholly unappealing flats, apartments and houses for rent. The utter rubbish we have been exposed to in potential living arrangements has had a debilitating effect on both myself and Karen. It has been one bitterly disappointing showing after another. The expectations of these lessors are so inflated that we have walked out of showings laughing out loud at prices asked for small one bedroom apartments throughout the city. So discouraging has this effort been, that I am ready to simply pack in the search and continue to live in the hotel. As of this writing we have come close once to paying too much for a decent, but small, apartment that was snatched away from us at the last moment. Right now we are no farther ahead than we were when we walked off of the plane and into the taxi a whole month ago. Pray for us. We need all the help we can get.

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