Sunday, June 8, 2008


(PICTURE: I was never good at math. How many inches is 8 centimeters?)

Dear Ahoy Hanoi Fans,

"They" say size doesn't matter but we all know -- some of us sadly better than others -- that isn't true. So, in an experiment to see how big my site is I've added a counter today. Please click on my site at least twice as much as usual so I can feel good about myself. Thank you.


"Come Wash My Apartment"

(PICTURE: Huyen's new apartment. The person taking this photo had his back basically against the far wall...which isn't very far from the front wall)

When people get something new in Vietnam they are supposed to "wash it." No they don't physically put soap and water to the object. It's just an expression which means they must celebrate by buying others food/drinks, etc. So, Huyen moved apartments the other day and invited Ryan and I over to "come wash my apartment."

Let me just say, if you ever want to feel really good about where you live you should spend some time in a locals' apartment. Huyen's apartment is roughly 7 foot by 12 foot. Sure, it's probably just a tad smaller than a $1500 a month place in the village but it's lacking a few amenities like:

a) A mattress. There's a bed frame with just a rock hard "bed" on top of it. Basically it's just wood slots covered by a straw mat.
b) A toilet. There's a hole in the ground in a separate "room" but nothing to sit on. I just don't understand how the Vietnamese get any reading down.
c) A shower. There's a faucet which you use to fill up a bucket and then pour on yourself with a large spoon.
d) Air conditioning. Huyen's place is roughly 112 degrees Fahrenheit.
e) Window screens. Bugs/lizards just fly/crawl in. That said, it does come with a nice mosquito net.
f) A closet.

On the plus side the apartment costs $20 a month. Huyen splits the place with her sister so they each pay $10 a month. That's right, $10 a month. And yes, two people live in this tiny room. That's also the norm here. People always share their beds with friends and family.

Now I know why Huyen keeps coming over my apartment during the day -- she wants to use my bathroom and bask in my air conditioning.