A Travellerspoint blog

July 2014

Here I am in my new apartment

Well my favourite co-worker got fired, leaving me as the only woman in the group. So, I threatened to leave with her. Instead, they moved me to another hotel so I could stay away from all the men. It's just as well, I guess because two of the men were harassing me. Seriously.

One was that crazy vegan, who scared everyone at Loving Hut to death because they didn't want to let him order something that wasn't on the menu. The other one is a jackass named Michael who says "older women don't belong in Asia". Old men, can't handle them. Seriously. Get them away. Now.

When I first got here, they said I could share the fridge. So, I put my own personal ice cube tray in there. Then, when I got home from work, there it was, sitting on top of the fridge, just an ice cube tray full of water. I was pissed and threw it at the person who I thought did it. She wasn't understanding why I was shoving it in her face.

The next day, I had my own fridge in my room.

Bedroom shot

Bedroom shot


Bathroom shot

Bathroom shot

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

The boat ride debacle

Our boss tried to take us on a team-building trip to Halong Bay. It was a disaster.

We didn't leave till everyone else on the dock left, even though we got there before everyone. Then, we went to a cave. Very nice. Took a lot of pictures.

Next, we were supposed to go to a beach. I wore my bathing suit all day, just to go to this beach. When we got there, I was told to go away. Some other teachers were yelling at the ticket taker, saying they already paid. Finally, our boss showed up and paid for them. By the time he showed up though, I had already gone off to sit by myself, wanting no part in the yelling the other teachers were doing. So, John and I sat on the dock, waiting for the boat to come back.

To top it all off, on the way back, everyone was talking about their great swim. So I complained about how I didn't get mine. One teacher named David told me to just go swimming now and jump off the speeding boat into the water, he followed it up with "Children in Gaza had a worse Sunday than you." Like I was some kind of princess and should stop complaining. I wasn't happy about that.

The name of our boat

The name of our boat


Me on the boat

Me on the boat


In the cave

In the cave


Me in the cave

Me in the cave


Little gangster on the beach

Little gangster on the beach


Ticket

Ticket


In the cave

In the cave


Beach by our hotel

Beach by our hotel


Me waiting for the boat

Me waiting for the boat


Me in Halong Bay

Me in Halong Bay


Me on the boat

Me on the boat


Me getting a tan

Me getting a tan


John waiting for the boat

John waiting for the boat


On the boat

On the boat


Halong Bay

Halong Bay


In the cave

In the cave


Sunset

Sunset


Me in Halong Bay

Me in Halong Bay


In the cave

In the cave

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

French boulevards

I went to the city of Haiphong, even though Richie told me not to go. I came back in the afternoon because everything closes up at about eleven a.m.

I arrived in Haiphong at around ten and luck would have it, my bus dropped me off not far from the museum area. I missed the naval museum, but went to the city museum. The top floor was closed when I got there, but I went upstairs anyway and it was really creepy. The photos are from the bottom.

Then, I tried to go to the naval museum but it was closed. From there, I headed to a weird temple in the thirty-one degree heat. It was intense. There were big signs all over saying no photos, so I only took some in the garden. A lot different than China, I hope they aren't all like this.

I took a rest with my ham sandwich and cool army canteen water bottle under a nice tree and then headed back home. On my way, a crazy man started following me. Then, I stopped at a yogurt shake stand for a drink so that I could scare the man away. It worked. I pointed at him while I was talking to the yogurt drink lady and he ran away. She said he is always wandering around scaring people. Wow. The drink stand is called Panda Coffee. If you are ever in Haiphong, drink one for me. I asked the drink lady what else there was to do in Haiphong and she said nothing. So, I went home.

On the way home, the bus driver tried to rip me off. On the way there, it cost 60,000 VND to get to Haiphong, but on the way back it was 70,000. OK, no big deal, I thought. THEN, when I got back home, he tried to drop me off on the wrong side of this HUGE BRIDGE. You know why? His taxi driver friend was waiting there, to take me to my hotel. Yep. So, when he tried to push me off, I told him exactly where I wanted to go. He even had the nerve to ask for some MORE money! Wow, people are always skimming off of you in Vietnam, it's intense.

Big Vietnamese flag

Big Vietnamese flag


On the bus to Haiphong

On the bus to Haiphong


Canal

Canal


Haiphong Museum

Haiphong Museum


Du Hang Pagoda garden

Du Hang Pagoda garden


Ancient grave in Haiphong museum

Ancient grave in Haiphong museum


Haiphong canal

Haiphong canal


Haiphong opera house

Haiphong opera house


Wide French boulevards, everywhere

Wide French boulevards, everywhere


Haiphong museum

Haiphong museum


Haiphong canal

Haiphong canal

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

The view from my classroom and Typhoon Rammasun

This is the amazing view from my classroom. I will be here for the next two months.

Today there is a typhoon, so I will put up some videos of the storm also.

View from school

View from school


View from class

View from class

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Shuttled around to our new place

All day today we have been shuttled around. Finally at about eight p.m. we got to our new home for the next ten weeks.

We went with our co-teacher Luis for dinner, and then he went crazy at Loving Hut. I took a video.

Statue store pitstop

Statue store pitstop


My stuff

My stuff


Bathroom

Bathroom


On the bus

On the bus


Bed

Bed


Training school

Training school

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Training day and water puppets

This morning we left at eight and went to the training session for our course. I found out that I may have the option to stay after the short contract is over, and travel around Vietnam teaching different teachers ten weeks at a time. I'm going to aim for that goal and stay here for a whole year.

After training I went for a walking tour around Hanoi and then ate a banh mi sandwich. If you don't know what they are, you should go to your local Vietnamese food truck and order one right away. They are even more delicious straight from the source.

After my dinner, I went to a "water puppet" show, which was more entertaining than I thought it would be. My videos are crap, so here is a link to a good one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXvhVhBmk6s

Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son Temple


East gate

East gate


Lake

Lake


Shoe street

Shoe street


Lake

Lake


Me vs. Banh Mi sandwich

Me vs. Banh Mi sandwich


Merchant's mansion

Merchant's mansion


Ngoc Son Temple

Ngoc Son Temple


Me on the bus home

Me on the bus home


War memorial

War memorial

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

New job

Well, I got a new job very quickly after I decided to leave. My new employer got me a business visa with an incredible one day notice. I don't know how she did it, but she did.

Before I left, I pondered about the documents I might need to leave the country. I know I needed my departure card, but then I thought I needed another official looking paper, that I had already handed over to my school.

So, I went over and POLITELY asked for it back. She told me to wait for her to go to church. I got a little upset because I thought they were brushing me off again. However, she knew I didn't really need the paper and didn't tell me. She drew up some document and attempted to get me to sign it in exchange for the paper she knew I didn't need.

I was like HELL NO, and grabbed the paper I thought I needed right out of her hand and ran. They all chased me and a man grabbed me by the arm. My childhood self defence course kicked in and I ripped my arm out of his grasp by grabbing my hand with the other one and pulling as hard as I could. He continued to chase me and did it AGAIN. I freed myself again and then he gave up, I was free, with my worthless paper.

As I was walking home, I noticed the school's driver following me down the road, so I went home a different way and then went up the back steps, quietly, without my shoes on. I peaked around the corner like James Bond and there they were, three thugs waiting for me to come home.

I quietly went back outside and relaxed at the mall with a bubble tea. I knew they would probably not stay past noon, because they have to pray. So, I went back and they were gone.

I packed up and gave my old man neighbour a bunch of stuff I didn't need anymore and he gave me an ancient bottle of wine, that had turned into vinegar. But, it's the thought that counts.

He was really angry about the problems I've had and he looked me straight in the eye and said that if the men came back, "I want to negotiate with them".

The problems included not believing me when things were broken, telling me to sleep on a dirty, mouldy mattress on the floor, telling me to wait in the wrong spot for the driver, ignoring my phone calls and trapping me in a shitty apartment for five days with no internet and a broken washing machine and air conditioning. I was not a happy camper there. When I arrived in Vietnam, Tracy picked up another teacher and then brought me to a dinner with some other teachers. They put me in a pretty good hotel, where I will stay for two nights and then move into either a shared apartment or my own hotel room somewhere.

I'm not sure which one I want to do, so I'll go look at the apartment and then decide later.

Me vs. real Vietnamese spring roll

Me vs. real Vietnamese spring roll


My messy room

My messy room


Some people I work with at dinner

Some people I work with at dinner


Some people I work with at dinner

Some people I work with at dinner

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Weird muslim guy

OK so I posted on the couch surfing group looking for someone to go to the zoo with. A random guy said we could go hiking.

What happened was, we didn't go hiking, he took me to a pool and then basically assaulted me. I had creepy feelings and then I told him to bring me home right away. We never went hiking, and now I don't trust any muslim men. This is not the first time something like this has happened while couch surfing with a muslim man.

Dali

Dali


Going home

Going home

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

National Monument and lost camera

The day before I went to the national museum, where I saw Java man's head and femur. If you know about human evolution, you know this is an important head and femur.

I came out of the museum totally exhausted because there's more than seventeen thousand islands in Indonesia and most of them have their own unique religions, cultures and practices. So the museum had a lot of crazy stuff in it that was completely foreign to me. I sat down on the steps to collect myself after it was done and I THOUGHT I packed everything up.

On my way home, I guess I forgot to zip up my bag and my camera fell out. I was glad my wallet and passport didn't fall out too. I was angry at myself, so I went and bought a new camera right away. I think I got a pretty good deal, but it's not waterproof anymore, unfortunately.

The next day the national monument had very short hours because of Ramadan so I made a special trip just to go see it. It was pretty neat with dioramas of the history all around the bottom.

National monument in Jakarta

National monument in Jakarta


National Monument in Jakarta

National Monument in Jakarta


National Monument diorama

National Monument diorama


At the bottom

At the bottom


At the top

At the top


The president's house

The president's house


Jakarta

Jakarta

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

First weekend in Jakarta

I wanted to go to Bali this weekend, but all the waiting sort of cut short my holiday. I decided to spend it in my own city. There are a lot of little museums and things to see. As usual, in the guidebook.

Another downside to my apartment is that you have to take a motor taxi to the bus station, because there are no local buses. I could walk four kilometres and do it, but then I'd be to tired once I got somewhere. Also, I'd probably be late.

Then, when you take the bus it is actually gender segregated. Women sit in the front and men pile in like sardines in the back. At first I was a little irritated, I mean, really??? But after a day walking around town in a modest tank top, I learned why. I was happy to be rid of all the crazy creeps, if even it was only on the bus. I don't know what they say to me, but the sound the men make is horrible. They yell and make sounds like monkeys or dogs, just because I don't wear a sweater in thirty degree heatand literally it was that hot today. Other men took pictures of me without asking and followed me down the street probably taking a movie. Later, I managed to hook onto a group of austrians and the sounds stopped. Also, in my neighbourhood, cars honk at me and slow downto pick me up because maybe i'm a prostitute??? I don't know. Most men on the street were nice, but it's very hard to tell the difference between the good ones and the bad ones. I just ignore all men right now when they try to say hello to me on the street. So, when I got on the bus to go home, I was SO HAPPY to see them there in the back, I didn't even care if there were any nice guys trying to get a seat. So, now I am all for segregation if some women get together and ask for it. Before today, i was like, get a life ladies, but now I know the kind of shit they have to deal with their whole life. It's too bad they bring it to their new country when they leave this crap,but they have the fear in their heads their whole life. I can't imagine dealing with that shit every day of your life and then all of a sudden moving to a better place??? wow...Don't know how I would deal with men in the new situation, I would probably be distrusting and skeptical of everyone, which is how I am right now. Anyway, back to the adventures. My first stop was going to be the puppet museum. Indonesia has a long history of puppet shows, just like China. So, it was really cool to see them there on display in one place. Some of them were a little creepy, but that's the fun part, right?

I was too early so, I wandered around to the "chicken market bridge" which is one of the only old things left from when the Dutch were colonizing the city, among a bunch of buildings that I also visited. In the square, they were shooting a political movie with a loud protest. I asked if they needed foreigners for another scene and I was sad when they said no.

Next up was the Jakarta history museum and the art gallery, where I saw the prison for women, which was in the basement and halfway flooded. Don't know if it was like that back in the day, but I'm guessing yes.

The art gallery had a nice design and was simple, but pretty.

Then, I went to the maritime museum, which was neat only for the building mainly. There were some nice ships inside, but the building was a restored warehouse from the Dutch trading company, VOC.

From there, the guidebook said to go and see this harbour. As soon as I got there, a creepy man started touching my arm and telling me he was a tourism officer. Maybe he was, and I have heard that people are kind of touchy feely here, but he was giving me the creeps. As soon as I was ready to run, I turned around and three jaunty Austrians helped save me. I spent the rest of the day with them and they were pretty funny, in their sarcastic way.

They took me to a park, that we all agreed was no good. Then to the national monument, that we all agreed was monumental. Then to the mall, where I finally got a mosquito net, and we parted ways. Them, for their hotel with pool and me, for Chinatown, where I found a nice little temple and then went home.

Temple Dharma Bhakti

Temple Dharma Bhakti


Some protesters

Some protesters


Me in the women section

Me in the women section


No groping

No groping


Train schedule

Train schedule


Train schedule

Train schedule


National monument

National monument


Boats on the harbour

Boats on the harbour


Dutch warehouse

Dutch warehouse


Maritime museum

Maritime museum


Dutch warehouse

Dutch warehouse


Maritime museum

Maritime museum


Top of the watchtower

Top of the watchtower


Art gallery

Art gallery


Art gallery

Art gallery


Art gallery

Art gallery


Art gallery

Art gallery


Me at Fatahillah Square

Me at Fatahillah Square


Large canon with a fist!

Large canon with a fist!


Fancy bookcase from the old courthouse

Fancy bookcase from the old courthouse


Really great triptych from the courthouse

Really great triptych from the courthouse


Neat architecture of town hall

Neat architecture of town hall


Real chain mail from 1500s

Real chain mail from 1500s


Executioner's sword!!!

Executioner's sword!!!


Black Portuguese church

Black Portuguese church


Black Portuguese church

Black Portuguese church


Black Portuguese church

Black Portuguese church


Birth control puppets!

Birth control puppets!


Governor's house

Governor's house


Creepy puppet

Creepy puppet


Movie set

Movie set


Town hall

Town hall


Creepy puppet

Creepy puppet


Big puppets

Big puppets


Decayed building

Decayed building


Nice street

Nice street


Chicken market bridge

Chicken market bridge


Bus routes

Bus routes

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Say hello to my little friends

These are my neighbours grandchildren. They really brightened up my day when I did all that waiting last week. We just played "lucky seven" and "war" with my deck of cards, but they seemed to really like it, because they kept coming back. Haha.

Their names are Florenzia, Geby and "Friendy"... not sure how to spell that last one.

I let Geby "steal" my camera and these are the photos she took. She thought the video button was the photo button so I have a lot of videos of them just posing. Ha.

Geby

Geby


Florenzia

Florenzia


Florenzia

Florenzia


Florenzia

Florenzia


Florenzia and Friendy

Florenzia and Friendy


Florenzia and Friendy

Florenzia and Friendy


Florenzia and Friendy

Florenzia and Friendy


Florenzia and Friendy

Florenzia and Friendy


Florenzia and Friendy

Florenzia and Friendy


Friendy, Florenzia and Geby

Friendy, Florenzia and Geby

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

New apartment

Here is my apartment, it's not so good. The appearance is mediocre, but the rest is a shambles.

Everything is broken, the washing machine and air conditioning don't work. My bed is DISGUSTING. With stains on the mattress and a U shaped indentation from years of use. It is also just lying on the floor. I can't believe that someone looked at this mattress and simply put a sheet on it and expected me to sleep on it.<br style="color: rgb(55, 64, 78); font-family: Helvetica, Arial, &#39;lucida grande&#39;, tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; text-align: left; "><br style="color: rgb(55, 64, 78); font-family: Helvetica, Arial, &#39;lucida grande&#39;, tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; text-align: left; ">The internet hasn't been hooked up, even though they told me four days ago the guy was coming "tomorrow".

The sliding glass door fell out of its track and the door to my bedroom doesn't even fit in the frame.

A few days later, here is the chronology of what happened: Sunday: Arrived here, didn't have a chance to actually look at anything or try anything like a washing machine or A/C because it was midnight and I went right to sleep. Ari said that tomorrow someone would pick me up to go to the school at ten a.m. She also said that the internet would be hooked up tomorrow. I thought great, I will have a week off before school to relax on the beach.<br data-reactid=".2w8.1:3:1:$comment10152135316875766_10152136237005766:0.0.$right.0.$left.0.0.1:$comment-body.0.$end:0:$1:0" style="color: rgb(78, 86, 101); font-family: Helvetica, Arial, &#39;lucida grande&#39;, tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; text-align: left; background-color: rgb(250, 251, 251); "><br data-reactid=".2w8.1:3:1:$comment10152135316875766_10152136237005766:0.0.$right.0.$left.0.0.1:$comment-body.0.$end:0:$3:0" style="color: rgb(78, 86, 101); font-family: Helvetica, Arial, &#39;lucida grande&#39;, tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; text-align: left; background-color: rgb(250, 251, 251); ">Monday: Waited all day for someone to pick me up. No one came, then I called Ari and she said that Yeny had the day off and I had to go in on Tuesday. Internet was not hooked up either. Yeny says that the internet man doesn't work after five p.m.<br data-reactid=".2w8.1:3:1:$comment10152135316875766_10152136237005766:0.0.$right.0.$left.0.0.1:$comment-body.0.$end:0:$5:0" style="color: rgb(78, 86, 101); font-family: Helvetica, Arial, &#39;lucida grande&#39;, tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; text-align: left; background-color: rgb(250, 251, 251); "><br data-reactid=".2w8.1:3:1:$comment10152135316875766_10152136237005766:0.0.$right.0.$left.0.0.1:$comment-body.0.$end:0:$7:0" style="color: rgb(78, 86, 101); font-family: Helvetica, Arial, &#39;lucida grande&#39;, tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; text-align: left; background-color: rgb(250, 251, 251); ">Tuesday: Meeting with Yeny was supposed to be at 10 a.m. but no one came until 1:30 p.m. Then, I told her about the internet, and how my washing machine wasn't hooked up and the mattress was old. She said she would fix both problems and that "maybe" someone would come today "after three". So, I had to wait in the apartment all day again for people that didn't come, or came way too late.<br data-reactid=".2w8.1:3:1:$comment10152135316875766_10152136237005766:0.0.$right.0.$left.0.0.1:$comment-body.0.$end:0:$9:0" style="color: rgb(78, 86, 101); font-family: Helvetica, Arial, &#39;lucida grande&#39;, tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; text-align: left; background-color: rgb(250, 251, 251); "><br data-reactid=".2w8.1:3:1:$comment10152135316875766_10152136237005766:0.0.$right.0.$left.0.0.1:$comment-body.0.$end:0:$11:0" style="color: rgb(78, 86, 101); font-family: Helvetica, Arial, &#39;lucida grande&#39;, tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; text-align: left; background-color: rgb(250, 251, 251); ">Wednesday: Two men came to fix the washing machine. They were supposed to come "before noon", but they didn't get to the apartment until 1 p.m. at least. So, I waited all morning again. I also noticed the A/C wasn't working so I told them about that. I tried to wash my clothes but the washing machine was not draining. I called Ari and a man who also didn't know what to do came over again. Ari said over the phone that the men would come again "after three" to fix it tomorrow.<br data-reactid=".2w8.1:3:1:$comment10152135316875766_10152136237005766:0.0.$right.0.$left.0.0.1:$comment-body.0.$end:0:$13:0" style="color: rgb(78, 86, 101); font-family: Helvetica, Arial, &#39;lucida grande&#39;, tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; text-align: left; background-color: rgb(250, 251, 251); "><br data-reactid=".2w8.1:3:1:$comment10152135316875766_10152136237005766:0.0.$right.0.$left.0.0.1:$comment-body.0.$end:0:$15:0" style="color: rgb(78, 86, 101); font-family: Helvetica, Arial, &#39;lucida grande&#39;, tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; text-align: left; background-color: rgb(250, 251, 251); ">Thursday: After three comes and the men do not show up. The power goes out right at this time. I go to the cafe to call Yeny and complain about all my problems. Very frustrated and tell the school I will leave if the problems are not fixed by July ninth. They say they will come over at nine the next day. The internet man hooks up the internet at around eight p.m. I thought he didn't work after five??? By now, I have spent four full days alone in this apartment waiting for people, without internet or a convenient way to contact my family or anyone at all.

Gross mattress

Gross mattress


Other side

Other side


Oh yeah, there are cockroaches too

Oh yeah, there are cockroaches too


Kitchen

Kitchen


My view

My view


Second bedroom

Second bedroom


Dining area and washing area

Dining area and washing area


Bedroom

Bedroom

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)