…entre nous soit dit…

between me you and the gatepost.

Xin Chao!

Well we are now officially in Veitnam – welcome to Hanoi.

I was most surprised when we got here as the pictures one typically sees of Vietnam with someone wearing the cone shaped hat while working in a rice paddy was practically the first thing that we saw once we drove out from the airport. Talk about stereotypes being correct for once. Go to Thailand and no one’s riding an elephant. Go to Russia and no one is walking around with a bottle of vodka practically glued to their hands permanently. Go to Australia and not many people actually sit around in a singlet, shorts, thongs and a cork hat with stubbie in hand… ok so there are quite a few who do that, but what nation doesn’t have a bogan society?

But for once, a stereotype was right. Go figure.

So we drove away from the airport in our luxury car (mum took the sign not to trust dodgy taxi drivers all to seriously and got a taxi through the tourist desk, rather than just walking outside and seeing that there are actually official airport taxi purely so that tourists don’t get gypped). I fell asleep shortly after getting into the car thanks to the fact that I went to bed at 2.30am and had to get up at 3.30am for a 4am departure from our glorious 5 star hotel in order to get to the airport in time.

So a very tired me arrived at the airport only to be pushed and shoved by the mobs of Asians – and no I don’t say that in a racist manour. It is just my belief that Asians have a different perception of what a line is to westerners and they are much more particular about hurrying to get everywhere because in some of their countries if you don’t push and shove, you don’t get anywhere. My biggest problem was how stupid some people can be – and this is not aimed at just Asians, but everyone.

You put your bags through the scanner at the airport naturally. I did so. Walked to the other side, got frisked and waited for my bags. One didn’t come out. Naturally, I started to slightly panic. Then someone suggested checking to see if it had gone through so I walked back to the other side and there was my bag: one strap buckle caught on the edge and hence it wasn’t going anywhere – just causing problems for all the other bags trying to get past. But no one touched the one strap buckle. No one did anything. They all just loaded their bags on only to sit and watch as they struggled to get into the machine because of my bag. When I tried to untangle it, no one would move to let me get to it seeing as they were in too much of a hurry to put their bags on.

So I finally push it through, pretty darn annoyed by this stage, and walk to the other side. The man sitting there asked if everything was ok. I said yes, I had a bag coming through, and pointed to the machine. Then he asked if I was going to cry.

I couldn’t believe it. I actually asked him to repeat it twice because I couldn’t believe that was what he actually said. I wanted to slap him. Or at least say something rude. Somehow though, I don’t think abusing guards anywhere in an airport generally goes down well… it should generally be avoided unless you fancy a short stay in a lovely Asian gaol.

So all of that, combined with a lack of sleep on the plane (those damn seats on Air Asia are ridiculous) made one extremely tired me. That fact was further recognised by the guy at the front desk of our hotel, who commented on it and started talking to me like I was 5 years old. I had to bite my tongue extremely hard to keep from saying something very sarcastic about my age.

But alas we’re here now.

The Ninth story of the Hong Ngoc Hotel in Hanoi – just a small room with a beautiful view. Nothing fancy, but still lovely and a step above staying in a backpackers/guesthouse. We have a couple of hours to kill this afternoon before meeting everyone else in our tour group at 6pm tonight. There are 17 of us altogether. Mum and I have bets going on as to how many Australians there will be seeing as we know how prominent Australians are throughout South East Asia thanks to the close proximity. Last time we did a tour with Kumuka in Thailand the majority were Aussies. This time Mum’s bet that 8 out of the other 15 people in the group will be Australian, and I’d say she’ll probably be almost dead on.

Anyways, instead of continuing to write even more of a novel, I’ll finish this off and go exploring now. Mum tells me that, from what she saw in the car ride, the streets in this area are lovely and very similar to those of France… In other words, they’ll be beautiful but we’re bound to get lost. Should be good. Photos will no doubt be coming soon (if my computer doesn’t die from the overload of excessive photos first).

Tam Biet!

PS. Thanks to the exchange rate, I’m now a millionaire… in Vietnamese Dong anyhow.

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February 6, 2010 Posted by | Cambodia/Vietnam Trip, observation, people, sleep, society, stereotypes, Travel | Leave a comment

weddings

I really do think that weddings are over rated. I went to one last weekend and for all the effort that goes into it, at the end of the day all it ends up being is a ceremony that “officially” means you’re together and a huge waste of money. I mean sure, by the time I finish writing this blog I will still be able to tell you that I will most likely end up having an elaborate wedding as well…. But that’s just because as much as I can criticise it, I’m still victim to the girly fantasies that surround it.

The wedding that I went to had a ceremony in the park on the edge of the river and while it was absolutely gorgeous and everything, it only went for about twenty to thirty minutes, and yet it would have caused countless hours of stress, thought, crying, debating and planning. So I had to ask myself, is it really worth it for twenty or thirty minutes? Most guys would automatically jump in here an say no, no it’s not.

I know for a fact that our friend who was the bride was stressing for days before hand and almost had a breakdown when the lady who was supposed to be doing the flowers got caught up in Darwin last minute and couldn’t do them. Do you know what? If that happens to me then I’m really just not going to care. Give me a kids doll – a Disney one or superhero or action figure and I’ll gladly walk down the isle with that. Atleast then it would be spontaneous and create some humour. And even better is the fact that guests would remember that because it would be different. I would create a mini theme of it to replace the whole flower thing that is expected: a couple of figurines on each of the tables at the reception or something. Or toys that are fun or funny and remind you of fun times had as a kid. Childhood memories are so much more fun to think about and they get funnier the older you get in my opinion.

And I’m all for the wedding being a funny occasion – something that you can always look back on fondly and still gets a laugh.  So bring on the surprise band that pops up from behind things as I’m walking down the isle, the crazy dancers that appear at the reception, the best man pretending that he forgot the rings, the funny speeches and rude jokes, fun songs that actually mean something for the first dance (and not a soppy love song), good DJs to get drunk and dance all night to, wedding themes and anything spontaneous. So long as the spontaneous thing isn’t you or the person you’re marrying changing their mind.

That wouldn’t be a fond memory.

And I’m sure that a fun wedding like that would take a hell of a lot of the pressure and boringness out of it for the groom. Why should you suck all the fun out of a day that should be publicly announcing and celebrating the fact that your happy together and want it to stay that way?

But then I can’t help but want to conform to some traditions. At the same time as I would love to have a wedding on a jetty (and sail in on a yacht) or the beach or in a park, I can’t help but really want to get married in a church. I love the gothic architecture of some churchs and they amaze me with their structure and the happiness yet solomness that can fill one place. I’m no religious person. Never really have been. But when I enter a church, I can’t help but feel touched. Whether it’s by spirits, God or just the feeling of welcoming and happiness that seems to unite most religious people, I don’t know. But I feel somewhat looked after and safe in a church.

To be married in a big gothic church is a dream that I don’t think will die. It has cold walls and air, but yet makes me feel warm spiritually and that amazes me.

So bring on the wedding day. But just let it be in a good church.

And don’t stress. Have fun.

November 5, 2008 Posted by | ambitions, experiences, fun, life, love, people, stereotypes | Leave a comment

Try Actually LISTENING To The Bloody Truth People!

I have a new annoyance today.
It sprung from my sister. She’s usually pretty cool, aside from her clothes and underwear stealing habits and her obvious lack of hygiene. However since I became close friends with my new bestie (who from now on to simplify things shall be give the anonymous name of Jane), who my family is aware of her being gay, my family has been watching the relationship very carefully. Now Jane is in fact actually not definitively gay. She is bisexual… until she decides otherwise. But that is beside the point.
The point is that my family has been watching our friendship very closely, and I will willingly admit that I have a very close bond with her and we go out, talk on the phone and stay up talking heaps. But that is simply because we are such close friends.
Unlike the movies where this kind of a friendship would eventually blossom into a romance to create a fairy tale ending, ours won’t, and believe me, if it was going to then it would have long ago. But it shan’t, because I don’t fancy girls like Jane does. I like guys. Strong, secure guys.
But apparently my family has come to doubt that. In particular my sister. My mother would never voice the question if she did have that opinion (out of fear of the answer or fear of the argument that would ensue about how she was being prejudiced against Jane). But my sister has confronted me about it. She asked me about a week ago, “Look, I’m just putting it out there, ‘cos I need to know, but are you gay?” I answered that I was not. 
However it was very clear to me that she did not believe me so I asked her why to which she replied that even when she was going out with her last major boyfriend, she didn’t see him as much as I see Jane. That resulted in only one thought running through my mind: that’s because he was an asshole.
But hey who am I to judge right?
She still doesn’t believe me and while she was listening to my half of the conversation on the phone to Jane today, she once again questioned me. she had no querries whatsoever about the phone call until she learnt half way through that it was Jane on the phone. Then suddenly I received a strange look for every second sentence. The one that raised her attention the most was, “Omg, she has a photo of us? Can I just be deleted!”
Now really that is a most harmless sentence. It wouldn’t hurt a fly… and it hardly seems sus at all. But apparently she created something out of that in her mind (probably along the lines of the ‘us’ being of Jane and me. The photo I was talking about was in actual fact of Jane, me, K-La, Sarika, and two girls (Emma and Emilie) that we met while in north bridge. We stopped and asked some random guy to take a photo of our new friends and us which resulted in the photo which Emilie later posted on myspace and is apparently a horrible photo of me. Hence why I asked if I could be deleted. Innocent no?
Well apparently the truth wasn’t believable enough. Apparently I need to work on my truth telling skills, because frankly I think my lying skills would have been more believable for my sisters mind today.
So that made me question why do people judge each other so harshly? And why do we create a truth in our heads and then convince ourselves of it before it is really explained. We convince ourselves so much, that we believe it over the truth when we actually hear it. It’s ridiculous. Just like it’s ridiculous how much crap people of a different sexuality, culture, religion or nationality have to go through. That’ the way they are. It’s their choice. Deal with it.
To them your the one that’s different.
And for the last time people, being ‘gay’ isn’t contagious.
It’s not like guilty by association.
And it’s not like coodies where you have to use ‘germ-lock’ to be safe.
Get over it people.

October 29, 2008 Posted by | friends, life, people, society, stereotypes | Leave a comment

society burning my ambitions.

I have always found that I have an odd list of things that I wish to accomplish in this life time, but some of the things that have struck quite high on my list (yet still haven’t been accomplished or even attempted as yet in most cases) tend to worry people and make people… well reconsider their original thoughts about me.

After reading a couple of books where the heroine was a spy and had learnt all of these skills since she was child because her father was originally the grand thief of the underworld’s “court” turned official spy for the king, and her mother was one of the greatest fighters in centuries. I’ve read these books numerous times and every time it always captured my imagination in a new way because all of the secrecy and fighting always seemed so appealing to me.

Since then, I’ve always wanted to have the same sort of skills. So as a result, some of the things that went to the very top end of the list of things I want to do/learn were:

1. Learn how to pick a lock
2. Learn a martial art of some sort. A type of hand-to-hand combat combined with street fighting.
3. Learn how to fight using weapons (in particular, and mainly, dagger fighting)
4. Own a good set of ankle and wrist strapped knife blades.
5. Learn how to take apart, put together and load a gun (different types) as well as be able to shoot them accurately of course!
5. Learn another language… and completely speak pig Latin properly and fluently (it’s still a little dodgy haha)
6. Learn how to lip read
7. Learn brail and other codes

Those are probably some of the more dodgy ones that create mixed feelings in most people, which is what makes them so confused lol. But I do have some more normal ambitions too:

1. Learn how to ride a motorbike… and own one… and go dirt tracking on a dirt bike lol
2. Travel around Africa on my own with a good camera and do humanities newspaper articles freelance
3. Live abroad for a year
4. Go back to and live in France
5. Get a tattoo
6. Make a difference
7. Work on the slopes during a ski season somewhere
8. Go to a rugby world cup (hopefully NZ)
9. Learn ballroom dancing
10. Get onto a plane without knowing the destination
11. Jump out of a plane (preferably WITH the parachute!!!)… Hopefully over snow?
12. Learn how to fly a plane.
13. Learn how to fix up a car on my own – the whole mechanic thing 🙂
14. Get a schweet car for drag racing in 🙂
15. Live on a farm for a year. Camping heaps. Live it simple. Have a horse. Dirt Biking. Hard Yakka.
16. Learn how to blow glass… don’t ask why, because even I don’t know why.

So I do have some normal ambitions… It’s just that a lot of them are sort of considered to be the perfect tools for a criminal I the making. But really, I’m on a straighter path than a lot of the people I know. Why can’t society just accept those people who are naturally different? Not because they chose to be non-conformists, but because they just have different interests to that of the common society values and interests.

Why can’t I fufill my life ambitions without being labelled and stereotyped?
The world is mighty screwed up sometimes.

August 5, 2008 Posted by | ambitions, lists, society, stereotypes | Leave a comment