Just back from lunch, and tapping away quietly writing this as Lou is sleeping in one bedroom and Flo is supposedly doing the same in hers…although I can still hear her singing. Sarah is with us and downstairs having a swim.
So – 5 weeks on from the last pause for thought, and glad to report that things going well out here in Saigon. In fact I mentioned to Lou this morning that living in Vietnam has started to feel real now, as opposed to the sense we had for a while that we were on some extended holiday out in South East Asia. Work took me to Bangkok in the middle of March, and then a week more recently up to Hanoi, and it was upon arriving back from this last trip that it began to feel like coming ‘home’.
True, Hanoi had been quite cold and my time there largely spent holed up in a hotel conducting workshops and meetings in window-less rooms, indulging in too much coffee, too many table mints, and having despairing Groundhog Day moments as I floated round the hotel’s endless buffet at lunchtimes wondering whether research had ever been conducted on linkages between crème brule consumption and various internal organ malfunctions.
On the back of 7 days of seeing the inside of a hotel (with the odd skirmish at some local bars inbetween) I’d have been excited about the prospect of flying out of Hanoi and arriving back on the Isle of Sheppey but, as it was, touching down in Saigon was a real treat. The senses were invaded with what were quite familiar sounds and feelings – the throng of chatter awaiting arrivals at Tam Son Nhat airport and the thick, hot air wrapping itself around you as you wait to jump in a taxi and weave your way through the neon lights and motor bike horns, over the Saigon bridge, and into Thao Dien district and our 9th floor apartment, where we’ve been residing for the past 3 weeks.
We’ve been exceptionally lucky since arriving in Vietnam, and this apartment was another good find. Despite a relatively stressful weekend last month moving in (complete with lugging boxes around town, dusting and cleaning the place itself, and entertaining Flo at the same time) it’s been a great place to settle into and has some very useful amenities (pool, gym, kids area, café) onsite. We also have a large sexy plasma screen TV, which many people will appreciate is something I’ve long dreamt of owning – although if truth be told the viewing options are not exactly cutting edge, unless you are an avid Vietnamese soap opera fan.
Flo’s school has also worked out extremely well. We had enrolled her into the Montessori School here within 4 days of arriving and she started immediately. Their facilities are really impressive, and she settled pretty quickly all things considered. We’ve got our first experience this coming week of school Easter holidays (2 weeks) which will be fun, but also a bit of a juggling act for Lou. The combination of 40 degree temperatures and an impressively weighted 5lb bump (not bad for 34 weeks) mean that keeping Flo occupied for a day can be quite tiring – I’m slightly more fortunate as my bump is only around 4.5lbs so am a tad more nimble under foot.
Anyway, I decided about an hour ago to start a blog. Not sure what this means, other than I’ll have a convenient central space on which to keep these rambling notes, that one day might make for an interesting (for me at least) reflection of our time out in Vietnam. Please manage your expectations carefully in terms of what you might find on this site (I’m struggling already with just downloading pictures), but I’ll do my best to entertain. I’ve no doubt anyone who actually reads this will know better than I how to make their reactions heard. In the meantime, go Rory Mc! I’ll be sleeping sweetly as you hopefully clean up the Open.