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13th May 2007
Sim says: Hanoi Hijinks

Oh boy it has been a hectic past week! So much seems to be going on, and whilst I am busy, I am actually in my element at the moment. Working heaps as always, but going out more and living it up! It has been a week of farewells also…my good friends and colleagues here, Melinda and Marty who I actually met in Australia when they were students in my TI course, have left to go to Canada on new adventures in the west. It was also Marty’s birthday and some other colleagues of ours, so Friday night we enjoyed a raucous night of karaoke. I will admit it here now. I love karaoke for all its badness! There is nothing like being locked into a kitsch looking room with a massive tv, a huge stereo system, a bunch of close friends and two microphones accompanied by a book of English songs. It has a manifold appeal. You can make a fool of yourself in front of your friends as you belt out bad classics- but then laugh when they do it too. There is the horrible, tacky video clip that always runs in the background behind the bouncing ball on the lyrics. I guess they figure that we are paying attention to the words and not the video clip of badly filmed iconic Vietnam sight-seeing spots. There are of course the endless amounts of beer that get brought to you by waitresses. And the free plate of fruit. And the silliness that happens when the people who run the joint can’t key in song codes properly, resulting in a random song that nobody selected but which we are forced to endure- and it is even funnier when the song played is the Sesame Street theme song. Or something.

After karaoke was a surreal experience at Hanoi’s Aussie pub the Spotted Cow. I would not recommend this pub to anyone, it was all so surreal walking into the crowded smoky bat that was engulfed in smoky haze and robust Auuustrrraayyylian accents. There were only one or two women, and the rest of the crowd standing around were middle aged balding, round-waisted, sunburnt men wearing chinos, checked shirts and moccasins or sandals. Was I in a time warp? Or a place warp? Had I somehow stepped back in time and into an Australian RSL club? In any case, the classics were being played on the stereo and as we’d already warmed our tonsils at karaoke we continued our drunken warble as we belted our Ke San, Country Road and American Pie. Classy I tell you, but really the only way I could cope with the surreal place I was in!

The previous night I had been at my regular trivia night at the local Irish Pub (there is ALWAYS an Irish pub wherever you go in the world…). I am in a bit of a regular team and we have been working our way up from last to second last and to the middle over the past 6 weeks or so, and this week we reached Second! No prize for this placing, but at least we are getting better…and we had cause to celebrate until 4am!! Yikes!!

Somehow got lost on the way home, and then Marty and Mel who had left ages before us drove past and rescued me…I think I was swerving the motorbike all over the road, but at least the streets are empty at this time of the night…maybe just as well for the silly tipsy foreigners who are the only ones awake and driving at this time of night.

Today was yet another farewell, to Yonna who’s been living in the house and who is with Joss. She has decided to go back to Australia for health reasons, so she had her farewell on Wednesday night, which involved dinner at a restaurant called Chim Sao.

At some time during the week amongst all this fun, I became like a true local when I carried not only Marie on my motorbike, but also a huge 1 metre by 1 metre mattress on the bike too! We brought the mattress home from Marty and Melinda's place, taking it off their hands before their departure so Marie could have a "bed" to sleep on. It was a lot of fun taking the huge thing home between Marie and i as we cruised down the streets of Hanoi. We hit a tree's branches above us at one stage and Marie thought she was about to fly off the back of the motorbike, pretty funny! Glad to get home safely! I have no idea how the locals carry wider, longer, heavier loads than ours during peak traffic!

So yeah, lots of silly, funny, late nights out, lots of beer and wine, lots of yummy food and fun company. It seems such a pity to leave when things are so good  Oh well, I just keep reminding myself of all the fun things ahead!

Love and laughter

Sim xoxox

Next: Sim says: Pilgrimage to the Perfume Pagoda
Previous: Mal Says: Getting the Groove on

Diary Photos
13th May 2007  Local Transportiers
Taking Marie's mattress home Vietnamese style on the motorbike

13th May 2007  Driving home Vietnamese style
Bringing home Marie's mattress on the motorbike

13th May 2007  Yonna's Farewell dinner

13th May 2007  Ngoc and Sim

13th May 2007  Sim, Ngod, Thang and Mal
Chim Sao dinner for Yonna's farewell

13th May 2007  Chim Sao leftovers

13th May 2007  Sim, ngoc, Thang and Mal
Our local friends join us at Chim Sao for Yonna's gong-away

13th May 2007  Ngoc and Thang
Such a funny and gorgeous couple

13th May 2007  Kate, Yonna, Joss, Nick's Wife and Nick
At Chim Sao

13th May 2007  Mel and Marty
At karaoke

13th May 2007  Karaoke fun!

13th May 2007  Mal, Mel and Marty belt-out the tunes

13th May 2007  Sim sings!

13th May 2007  Mel and Marty sing karaoke!

13th May 2007  Sim, Karen, Ed, Marty and Mel at Spotted Cow

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