Silly me!

I am the biggest moron walking the streets of Hanoi! It looks like since I basically stopped drinking six months ago my brain has become mushy lacking the preserving effect of the alcohol!

Yesterday I went to my Vietnamese bank to arrange things in a way that I can travel Asia and fund everything through my account there. My Vietnamese credit card is in Dong. But I had only USD there. So, I tried to do a conversion by internet banking already a couple of months ago. But for every transaction I need a PIN code, which the bank sends me by text message to my mobile phone. The Vietnamese, mind you.

As it turned out, the Vietnamese phone operator had blocked my number already two months after my leaving the country last December – despite that I still had a 500000 Dong credit balance!

So: phone not working – no text messages – no text messages no PIN – no PIN no internet banking – no internet banking no money in the credit card account…

Of course, to register a new phone number you have to appear at the bank branch in person. :)

So, I had arranged for a post-paid SIM card to avoid that the number will be blocked again. I picked it up upon my arrival. And I had to set up  a payment system to make the monthly payments (to find a victim who will pay for me every month) :)

Now, of course, it turned out that I had to go to the other end of Hanoi to get “roaming” on my SIM card. Otherwise: no text messages outside Vietnam :) That was quite a procedure and I had to leave a deposit of 2,000,000 Dong…

So, yesterday I went to the bank, registered the new phone number for internet banking, exchanged enough USD into VND to keep me going with my credit card in Thailand – and now, time to relax!!!

Alas, when last night I decided to prepare the things I need to take with me on holiday (a bag of chargers for different devices, negligée, perfume, handcuffs, documents and other important matters) it turned out that I had left my bloody Vietnamese credit card in Munich – in my Bulgarian wallet! I missed to transfer it to my Asian wallet! What a moron! All the hassle and all the fuzz for nothing!

In my desperation I went to the bank early this morning (only 20 minutes by taxi) but as I expected they were not able to issue a new card by the end of today :( It will be ready only once I come back from Thailand.

OK, this is not really fatal. I will take a stack of Benjamin Franklins with me instead. But it certainly is most embarrassing! Maybe I better start looking for a personal assistant…

Back in Hanoi

I better start my travel diary before my trip is over again. :)

This year the planning started early. I bought my tickets already in June – and, in fact, am fully “planned” till the end of March 2016.

Last year I did not have a chance to fly with Qatar Airways – as I was travelling via Beijing. So, this time Qatar – because they were the only ones left to serve champagne in economy. It was a big disappointment for me to learn on the flight that they only recently have removed champagne from their beverage list! Poor me! Now I have no airline left that really cares for me :( I shall write a complaint to their management!

It was my first stop at the new Qatar airport. A huge and modern terminal. With top world brand shops. I don’t like it! Before it used to be small and Arabic. Now it is international and meaningless. When before they had a dozen different kinds of dates for sale they now have only the boring standard Al Alwani dates that you can buy in any supermarket in Arabia…Another airport that is without identity…a pity…

Hanoi, on the other hand, embraced me immediately with the out-worldly charm I have gotten used to :)   It started even immediately after arriving, at the visa counter, where I had ample time (about 30 minutes) to watch the 6 uniformed guys doing nothing. When, after handing over 95$ for the visa, I moved to immigration I was de-accelerated even more. There was only one lady checking the passports of all arriving foreigners. And she had a question about one of the people and wandered off, assumingly to see her superior for support. She came back after less than 15 minutes, so, no worries.

On the way into town I passed some of the impressive red billboards on which in yellow letters were some official notices. That made me feel very much at home :)

I am staying in the same apartment as two years ago. I had wanted to try yet another area of Hanoi but the rental deal fell through in the last minute. It is a nice building and a good location in a small street. One of the advantages is that all the people here (in the little shops and also the street vendors) still remember me :) And I remember the whole environment also. So, it really makes you feel at home.

Yesterday I had a stroll around the neighbourhood to see what’s new and to check if all the good stuff is still there…

Now I am all set to enjoy my Hanoi life. Before this really starts, however, we will be going on a two week holiday to Thailand the day after tomorrow. So, tomorrow I will have to pack what I will need.

We will be back on the second of October and I have hired a private teacher for Vietnamese lessons starting on the 5th. Then I also will have to pick up my motorbike.

Today it is raining as a tropical thunderstorm is brewing up. Supposedly tomorrow as well. No problem. Life moves slower here :) And I can utilise the idle time finding, pirating and ripping the latest Asian maps for my Garmin satnav device :)