Thursday, October 16, 2008


I was just chatting to my sister and she told me this strange anecdote from the other day, involving a late night phone-call and her boyfriend Vinnie.

The phone was ringing at 3am (!!) and Vinnie managed to get to it to pick it up.

The other voice, some German guy, said: "What's it like to be woken up by a German at 3am?"

Vinnie replied in a confused voice "It's ok..." and the German promptly hung up.

My immediate reaction was that perhaps it is a modern art project, where the reponses will be taped and played to people in a gallery. My sister said that other people speculated that it might be a German radio station playing international pranks - phone calls from Germany to New Zealand can be very cheap now, or maybe even just a New Zealand radio station.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I love Anthony and I love Hanoi

Ok, so it's been veritable ages since I posted, or at least, a lot has happened in the world of Lei and I still don't have a camera so my only option is prattling on about it. Also, I realised I broke my ONE blog rule and raved about a temple in the previous post, if you are boy-cotting my blog as a direct result of this, I am truly sorry, but you will never know.

For those of you who thought you'd give me another chance: I spent one week in Bangkok with my Anthony and MY GOD. There's nothing like three months apart to put the spark back in your relationship. Just kidding. But, Bangkok was fabulous as always and seeing it with Anthony was ridiculous. I took some photos on his camera, which hopefully he will email to me and I will post. Right now he's busy drinking in Dublin though so I don't rate my chances.

Right now for me: it is my second evening in Hanoi and I feel more complicated and emotional about this city than any of the previous ones - probably because I know I have to make a life here for the next six months. First of all - it is NOTHING like New Zealand. Of course not, you say, it is a major city in South East Asia, why would it be?! Ok, of course not, but the other places I went felt more homey and comfortable and slick and everything modern and etc, but Hanoi is just insane. On first impression, it looked kind of like something out of a Sean Tan picture book, if he liked to paint what a person on LSD might imagine when they think of Asia. The skyline is so busy, because heaps of the buildings are multiple stories high (around three or four) but only about 6 metres across. And they are multi-coloured. This is because the Vietnamese government taxes you based on the WIDTH of your HOUSE, so people keep their houses narrow to save money and just build upwards.

The Vietnamese people are also nothing like the Thais, Laotians and Cambodians I've become so used to. Everyone warned me about them to be honest, especially those dwelling in Hanoi, but so far I like them. They are definitely not submissive like the Laotians, false like the Thais or obnoxious like the Cambodians (can be, overall Cambodians are my favourite people on the planet, so - NO OFFENSE intended). The Vietnamese are curious, but reserved, they are dignified and graceful, and only smile when they feel like it, or if they're a con-artist (which some of them are, I have met a couple), they seem slightly suspicious, but seem like to like it when I make a fool of myself. And once they've sussed me out, they're constantly offering me something for nothing.

Obviously, this 'in depth analysis of the Vietnamese psyche' will become much more varied and complex as I stay here for a longer time, but those are my first impressions. They're also much more liable to rip me off than anyone else, but I'm getting used to it (to being able to tell when it happens and to say no).

Job front: I had two interviews today, one was dreadful (I still got offered the job, it pays very well, but I think I would hate to work there) and one was charming (starts only part-time, pay is ok, the place is wonderful). I think CHARMING wins... (I'll never be rich) - the womans first question was "The most important thing is that the teacher loves the children, can you love them?"


(Yes I can)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Oh My Buddha!

I don't have a lot to say, but look at my photograph above to get an idea - just kidding, if you recall from the previous post, I don't HAVE a camera (I must seriously be the one tourist at Angkor Wat...) so I stole a picture off the internet. Alarmingly, this was the best I could find. Honestly, it looks much better in real.

In real. I went to Angkor Wat today!! In real.

To repeat something I already told Mom today: When I first arrived, I walked up to Angkor Wat and was like, wow, this is beautiful (unsurprising) but quite a lot smaller than everyone hyped it up to be. I mean, it was still HUGE, but not as huge as I had come to expect from a million and one anecdotes about it.

Anyway, I was walking around it, still quite mesmerized by it's detail and beauty, and then I walked out the backdoor. And saw a huge field, more temples and a long straight stone path. After walking for a while, I saw the real Angkor Wat and realised, with some hilarity (outloud laughing, by myself), that the building from before had merely been the entry gate to Angkor, not Angkor itself. As I got closer to the real Angkor Wat, I really surprised myself by bursting into happy, almost religious, tears (this happened more than once today) and gasping for breath at how blown away I was.

Architecture has never done that for me before.