I mentioned in my last blog that I was starting to explore greater things or in more plain terms GET A LIFE. Hanoi has a lot more to offer than Bia Hoi corner and My Dinh. I am, by nature, drawn to anything involving the arts and somehow, very luckily stumbled upon the arts scene in Hanoi last week, and made enough contacts there that I think I can stay in.
Unlike in NYC or many other places, in Hanoi when you meet someone and exchange information, you actually plan on getting in touch with them. I find that any reticence I would perhaps have in NYC about calling someone I just met to make plans has flown out the window. My networking skills have improved considerably and my horizons are expanding.
I spent the evening in town with my new friend Jenny. We started at the Fine Arts Museum at a gallery opening and then moved on to the Hanoi Cinemathique. I LOVE the movies, as many of you know, but even if I weren't an avid movie goer, this place would make me one. Situated in downtown Hanoi, one can almost miss the entrance as you must drive down a bit of a corridor. Like a Moroccan riad, it seems like nothing on the outside, but once you enter the property it is like stepping into a different, but amazing world. Soft lights illuminate the gazebo courtyard containing adorable tables and a mouth watering aroma coming from the food being prepared in the kitchen. The courtyard is surrounded on all sides (like a riad) by old, colonial French type structures and a bar which gives you free popcorn if you order a beverage. My beverage (a cappuccino-served with a gingersnap biscuit!)I was allowed to take into the intimate but not claustrophobic theater was savory and delicious and even more so that I was allowed to sip it while enjoying Inglorious Basterds.
I fell in love with the place immediately and plan on going back often. So much so that I invested in a year long membership, which set me back 200,000 dong (or $12)
A small price to pay for paradise.
I am overjoyed that my life here is finally starting to reflect my personality, I can't wait to see what I discover next!
On a side note
1. People bringing their babies and small children on a motorbike without a helmet. And this is legal. the helmet rule only applies to adults.
2. Today I had to brake for a couple of chickens crossing. In my head I said, "Why did the chicken cross the road?" and laughed a bit to myself
3. The pharmacies here are insane. You can get the craziest stuff over the counter, like valium, codeine ETC.
4. Sometimes when i am teaching I can't believe that I reviewing the same material. Literally i will review the same two pages for TWO WEEKS. I never want to say "How's the weather?" or "where are you going?" again
5. My hypochondria. As many of you know, when I get a cold, sore throat or any common ailment I am convinced that I am dying, that I have somehow contracted a life threatening disease and I am on webmd obsessing over the symptoms. But when something is actually wrong with me like I have a second (or third) degree burn or I have a tooth infection that requires a root canal I refuse to acknowledge that anything is wrong with me and tell everyone to stop worrying that i am fine and they are being dramatic