Occam’s Razor

October 14, 2007

On What’s Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — lesturla @ 5:32 pm

October has been one heck of a busy month. It’s only the 14th and I feel as though I’ve put in one whole month of work already. So now I blog and there are some bits and pieces that have happened here in Hanoi that I haven’t blogged about yet.

For example a few months back we had a chance to meet some Pinoys here in Hanoi. It was quite an impressive mix of people, we’ve got an international lawyer, diplomats who work for the Philippine Embassy, an Urban Planner who works for the World Bank and of course a Global Outsourcing Professional (ako yun, I just made my job title a little, err, high fallutin). We had dinner at this swanky, over-priced resto-bar in Hanoi Towers and proceeded to have coffee at Highlands Coffee (their version of Starfucks oops Starbucks pala). We talked about Manila and how each of the people round the table misses Manila already. But that conversation didn’t really stick to me coz at that time I was at a stage of thinking that missing Manila is a bit ridiculous since, well, I was just in Manila a few weeks back then.

I remembered though the conversation about the Chocolate Buffet at Sofitel Metropole which Thea and I still haven’t tried yet so must make mental note to go there soon. I have however, during one wandering-around-Hanoi noon-time, tried their lunch buffet. It was actually pretty good my Shang and Marriott raised palate was treated to a wide selection of European dishes. I totally snubbed their Japanese food section although I am a Japanese food fiend. I especially loved their selection of cheese and scooped up their unending serving of caviar with matching Italian red wine. The best thing about going to good restos here in Hanoi is that the waitresses speak French. So with all the Sofitel ambience and European food feeling mo talaga nasa Paris ka. My conversation with the waitress:

Me: Parlez-vous l’anglais? (although I knew she could speak some English)
Waitress: Oui! Comment est-ce que je peux vous aider?
Me: Je voudrais essayer le votre secoue.

Basically, meaningless and I’m pretty sure mispronounced French. Nonetheless I had a blast.

A few weeks back I also finally decided to cut my hair. My motivation to have it long then was that I never really had it long before. And my motivation to cut it short now? I was starting to look like a dirty professor when I go to work — the type you’d make fun with kasi hindi nagsusuklay. Good thing that they have Toni&Guy here although I never really tried T&G in Manila but their stylist here was really good.

Oh, and I also took to heart our Vietnamese life and leased a motorbike. This actually made people at work so excited that I have locals asking me left and right how I find it. I tell them it’s fun coz during the weekends when you use the motorbike for pasyal it can be fun. But heck when you have to ride it going to work amid the Hanoi traffic:

it can really bad. But I have since learned to drive through the pavement albeit ever so carefully in traffic cases like the one in this photo. And cussing in English goes a long way here. Who would have thought that yelling “Outta my way styoopid fart!” can make people freeze in their tracks? But some of the disturbing things I’ve noticed was that motorists here can get really hot tempered. Geez, ilang suntukan na sa daan ang na witness namin ni Thea. And everytime we make usyoso talaga the classic Pinoy way with Thea providing commentaries like, “Oh my god, I think he’s really gonna kill the other guy na!” or, blow! “Ay!” blow! “Ay!”. One time a motorist ran to a sidewalk vendor and got the poor vendor’s knife to make saksak his kalaban with in the street duel. I stared at them and thought shet parang Fernando Poe movie. Asiong Salonga in Hanoi!

I also experienced getting caught in the rain on my way to work. So you could imagine how much cursing was involved while I got wet and gooey. Compound that with the fact na it’s autumn here and it can get a bit cold especially when it rains so I was wet and cold and I didn’t really like the fact that I was scampering like a literal na basang sisiw looking for a shed while I wait for the rain to stop. Eeeek!

On a darker note, just yesterday we saw a guy killed in a motor accident as in with oozing blood from the face and a desperate man (whom we thought was the one responsible for the accident) trying to shake him up in a desperate attempt to wake him up. Our reactions:

Thea: “Oh my god, may patay sa daan Boo!”
Me: “Huh?” I slowed down, got about 10 feet away from the mob of people making usyoso. I didn’t speak further as I tried to analyze the crime scene a la Grissom of CSI. With distraction of the mob and all the shock that comes with seeing the scene I didn’t get much out of it.
Thea: “Did these people bother calling 911 or an ambulance man lang? Oh my God, I think he’s dead!”

Sadly the other man kept shaking the victim. If the victim were merely unconscious with all the injuries he’d have had he would have had died because of the shaking that could have snapped his spine and stopped blood flow to his brain. Even more sad is that amid all the bickering and analyzing we did nothing to help. We felt a bit guilty later on for not calling 911 or its equivalent here coz well, we didn’t know 911’s equivalent here and we were shocked! We treaded on with the speed of a turtle on tranquilizers and went to the dentist for our appointment. It was not the first time we saw a bloody scene in the streets of Hanoi due to motorcycle accident but seeing death freezes us and saps out something in us — that thing that would be bibo enough to do something significant to help.

If you can see the photo of the traffic above you’d notice how motorists don’t bother wearing helmets. Very few people actually wear helmets here. Relatively speaking, motorbiking in Hanoi should not be all too dangerous because the streets are narrow like that of Italy’s and the traffic is not really that fast. But some motorists like anywhere else in the world really want to be daredevils and like the man from yesterday, they don’t bother putting on helmets. From all that I’ve seen, the novelty of riding motorbikes has surely ended. I’ll just finish the lease and settle with riding cabs after. Nonetheless, I promise to ride ever so carefully and I would never forget my helmet.

On a lighter note Thea and I got influenced by Cullen to try on new things like, kiddie slides and rides:


Anyway, what else has been keeping me busy? This:

My endless fascination with my Roger Federer – Pete Sampras and Nadal – Gasquet exhibition tickets. Also my Krzysztof Kieślowski collection. Thea and I just finished watching Blue from the Three Colors cycle. Stars Juliette Binoche (nurse Hanna in The English Patient and star of Chocolat). I am convinced completely that Kieslowski is a genius of the lens. Each frame in this movie is a meaningful photograph with carefully choreographed pans of the camera and oh so lovely splashes of blue here and there. No wonder Blue consistently makes it in the listS of greatest movies ever made. Will tell you more when I finish his collection especially when I finish the highly acclaimed Decalogue. I’m also starting on The Sopranos. Will fill you in soon with the experience. Right now my two-year old is bugging me to sing the Barney song. So next time.

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1 Comment »

  1. hi. wish i could bump into some pinoys while im here in hanoi. wala magawa this weekend. naipit lang ibang meetings for next week kaya di pa nakauwi. it wont be a bad idea to meet pinoys here in hanoi kasi malamang pabalik balik ako dito for work in hanoi, hcmc and thai nguyen..

    Comment by maya — November 23, 2007 @ 3:23 pm


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