This was a random thoughtless moment of lets just go to Vung Tau on a Monday when everyone is working type of a deal. I'm really lucky I'm able to do that because in the past three years I've worked really hard to be where I'm at right now. So I can take a random Monday off if I wanted to.
So I rented a car and a driver and we went. I got the dog ownership experience that I've always wanted since I was a child. We both got the new "Vung Tau Express Way" experience, that turned out to not really be that much faster. Maybe by 30 minutes or so? But not by an hour or two like I had originally thought. We just wanted to get away from the city. Two weeks into the new semester, and I was already burnt out. I needed to just sit by the beach. The beach was a little bit dirty with debris, but it was empty.
There's not much to do in Vung Tau. It's pretty boring after a few hours. You can ride the cable cars up a mountain with an amusement park and spend time there. That might be great for kids. I didn't feel like jumping in the water because I don't like bathing in the same water as ships and oil rigs. That would be like bathing in Long Beach. If you head further north to Long Hai and Ho Tram, some of the private resorts offer decent beaches. But the heart of Vung Tau isn't great.
So why go to Vung Tau in the first place? It's a road trip potential. It's one of the closes beach cities to Saigon. And it offers different vibes. Perhaps it's the breeze and less humidity, but Vung Tau feels like Vung Tau and not like Saigon. On the weekends the crowds converge and romance fills the air as couples wander the beach front blvds.
On Monday it was relatively empty. We didn't stay until night fall. We were out of there by 5:30 after checking out the lighthouse. My friend Joe wasn't even in town, so I felt deprived of his presence. Joe's like a best friend I never see or communicate with. If you watch the Vung Tau video, he appears in it. But I digress. I shot a few videos with Kikki, which will all be up very soon.
When we got back into the city, OldBoy and Kikki met for the first time. We went out to eat some quail and other grilled stuff together in the District 4 of all places. Then I went home and my lower body just gave in. Before that I had a serious stomach issue all day. I couldn't unclench myself and just enjoy the beach. I think it was because of the banh khot that I ate earlier in the day.
Tuesday night after commitments, I met up at with Canh to get some curry crab and oc buu. I'm an oc buu guy.
Wednesday afternoon, in between commitments I went with my mechanic to check out a beautiful CBR400. It was so perfect except it has Da Nang license plates. If I'm going to pay 100,000 million Dong, I want Saigon city plates because it'll just be easier to resell in the future. I'm committed to upgrading my current motorcycle.
Thursday night at 8:30 or so, I was more than worn out from lecturing all day, so I just wanted to unwind. I really wanted to wrap up the Sapa video. Unfortunately, local friends were in the area and invited me out. I figured, I had to eat, so why not. Restless nights. Early mornings raged on.
Friday morning was extremely difficult to wake up to. Friday night, I booked my flight for Hanoi very soon. I'll book another flight to Singapore pretty soo,. That's right, I'm going to give Singapore a second chance.
By Saturday, I was a zombie. But I still went to the grand opening of Frugos Yogurt. A video will be up very. I'm a fan of frozen yogurt, and I'm glad I have a place close by and located in the front of the Crescent Mall next to the popular Phuc Long coffee.
The next day, Jake invited me to a dam do in Binh Chanh. Now Jake's an interesting guy because he's the most fobby, yet Amercanized guy I know. He speaks perfect Mien Tay Vietnamese, and perfect English. I've yet to meet anyone who was raised in America, but speaks like a local like him. In fact, he lives like a local. Even though Binh Chanh Rural District is still considered Saigon, but trust me, you don't feel like you're in Saigon at all. At all. So the music was blasting. Patricia and Tommy came along too. It was very different for Patricia. She's had this Vietnamese party experience before, but never in the countryside like this. Everyone was drunk by the time we came. As we hopped out of the taxi, all eyes gazed at us with such strong fixation that I felt rather uncomfortable. The food was amazing. The deer was some of the best protein I've ever had. The shrimps were juicy and moist. Jake spent 30 million on this party. Some of his relatives have never even seen a white person before. They were so drunk that some of the old women started to grind up and make out with Tommy. When things escalated to more molestation, I had to get my friends out of there. It was too hot. The locals were going crazy. I laughed a lot. But if it wasn't so hot, I would have enjoyed it more. Major props and thanks to Jake for inviting the crew. I was drunk after one beer.
I went home and slept because the night before I didn't go to sleep until 4 AM. I woke up hungover at around 5 or 6 PM. I had plans to visit the Tax Center to buy some t shirts because supposedly prices are half off because the mall will be torn down due to the subway construction. I met up with Kikki, and tried a new youth hip style restaurant centered around potatoes called Mr. Potato. It's basically fries, chips, and potato wedges in various flavors and dips. Not the most original, but it was pretty busy for a Sunday night. We called it a night early because I had to wake up really early the next morning.
Then the next day, and I found myself in the outskirts of Saigon. By the way, I've said it before, but Saigon is massive. The outskirts are very much like the Mekong Delta "Mien Tay" countryside. The scenery and landscape are pretty uniform in the sense that the flora and fauna consists of coconuts and dust with the occasional pond or two or three. A car picked me up, and I went to an interview at a university. Now, I wasn't looking for a job, but someone referred me to a potential theatre gig. So I applied thinking that I would be running a theatre program. It turned out that there was some miscommunication and that they were more interested in using me as a TOEFL teacher. There's no one else that knows this test better than me in this city. Hands down. My scores and my students' scores prove this. But I'm a history and theatre guy. Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to work for them and as much as they wanted me there, I couldn't give up what I already have in the city.
The dean of the school was kind. We spoke English and Vietnamese without hesitation. I would have loved to work there. We share a common passion for theatre. After lunch with some staff I felt incredibly depressed. I couldn't give up what I'm doing now and its flexibility. I have my own private office now, and I don't need to hold office hours. I'm on top of the totem pole. But either way, I had a great experience out there for a few hours. It's good to see a different side of the Mekong Delta. But the city is where it's at for me. On the quiet and stormy ride back, I realized just how lucky I am to have what I have now. I felt bad because they really wanted me. But at the same time, I'm doing extremely well in the city now. I'm established. I can wear a t-shirt if I wanted to. Sometimes I do. But this interview experience will be quite reflective in my life for a while, because I'm not quite sure why I still feel torn about it. It's a no brainer. There's way more pros about what I have in the city now, and a lot more cons in the countryside. I don't want to go too deeply into exactly what they are. But trust me, I have good it in the city right now. Yet, for a minute I was a bit torn because the people in the countryside seemed extremely inviting. I'm not going to work there though ultimately. The decision came fairly quickly, but it feel great that such an institution wanted me so much. But I'm just sorry that the current situation wasn't more ideal. Remember, I'm trying to work less so I can bring you more videos and travel experiences. An increase in workload isn't exactly what I'm looking for right now. Yet, I feel torn because I'm afraid to disappoint people. They were really nice to me.
I'm pretty lucky. I've paid my dues. But I'm also pretty established in all of my positions. Things are a lot different now. I still get stressed out tremendously. I'm not going to complain as much about the daily grind anymore. I'm working a lot smarter. I have a greater sense of balance now.
Life is great. Tien, Nina, and Jennie will be here in the next short months ahead. I'm extremely excited about the near future.