Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Packing and Cleaning

So I'll be moving out of my Hanoi apartment in just a few days.  My plan is to spend Christmas in Ninh Binh, and then meander to Laos on my motorcycle.  I've already started the cycle of packing and cleaning, getting the place tidied up for the next victim...err...tenant, and getting my stuff together to be packed on the back of my motorbike.  It is amazing how long it is taking me to gather up my small amount of stuff, which will only take up my big backpack, and a smaller backpack, but maybe an extra bag for some canned and packaged food.  I have an Aldi freezer bag that zips up for the food, if necessary.  I got it in Australia, and it was my carry-on bag on airplanes until I got a better bag in Korea.  That is kinda too much stuff, but I have brought along some cold weather clothes I haven't used since I was in Siberia.  I hate to throw them out, because I will probably encounter cold weather again (maybe in the mountains of Southeast Asia), and then I would just have to buy that stuff again.  And it is good quality stuff.

I bought a few things for my apartment, most of which I'll leave behind for the next tenant of this furnished apartment.  But not my scissors.  I use them all the time.  They are my biggest luxury item, other than my electronics.  By cracky, they'll have to pry those scissors out of my cold, dead hands...well, actually it'll probably be that my warm, live hands leave them behind somewhere before the next time I fly somewhere.  But I bought a grater (that I never used, but meant to), and I'll leave that here.  I bought some trash containers, a coffee mug, a glass to replace one I broke, a mop, a dustpan (to go with the old and ratty broom that was already here; I was too cheap to buy a new broom as the old one is still [barely] functional).  And I bought a big comfy pillow and pillowcase, as the bed didn't have one when I moved in.  And probably a few other things. Next tenant, whoever you are, you're welcome.  I have to get rid of my French textbooks as I don't think I have room for them.  If I have time, I'll take them to the French Institute and see if they can give them to somebody who can't afford the textbooks in the next session of classes.  But I don't know if I'll have time. And I don't know if they'll do that, anyway.  The Vietnamese textbook I'll keep until I finish my flash card deck, which has now stalled due to the packing and disruption.  The work on it will probably slow down quite a bit as I become a transient again.

I put an ad up for my apartment on some of the local online groups, to help out my landlord, but nobody has bitten on it yet, which has surprised me, because this place is nice and a great deal.  When I was moving in, I was so afraid that somebody was going to grab it before me, as I had booked a trip to Ha Long Bay before I saw it, and I told the previous tenant that I'd look at it when I came back if nobody snatched it. But sometimes the posts in those online groups get buried and de-emphasized, too.  I've seen similar posts where one has a ton of comments, and one doesn't have a chirp on it.  I really have no dog in this hunt, I just want to do good for my landlord, who has been really helpful with everything.

A couple of days ago, I went to the French Institute to return the last movie I checked out.  It was really boring and uninspiring.  It just didn't engage me at all.  I kept watching it for fifteen minutes, not able to pick up on the plot or the characters (not because I didn't understand the language, but because it sucked), and I kept coming back to the movie, thinking, "who is this guy, again?" "What's going on?" I kept having to back it up to catch up, but still was puzzled, and finally, I decided, to hell with this movie, and I just returned it less than half-watched.  All the other movies I've seen have been pretty good, or at least followable.  I wish I had brought the French texts with me at the time, but didn't think of it.

On the way there, I saw the results of a vehicular accident that obviously involved some aquatic sea creature product that was strewn across the road and all smushed into the asphalt from being run over repeatedly, and there was a guy on the side of the road wiping fish muck off of a woman standing on the sidewalk.  I think it might have been crabs or crawfish, it was something spindly and it looked like there were smushed-up claws all over the road.  It didn't look like anyone was hurt badly or anything. Then I passed another smear of smushed-up food product on the road just a few minutes later; this one looked like it had happened a lot earlier as there was no other aftermath present.

I've timed out running out of most of my commodities pretty well.  I have two rolls of toilet paper left; I can just leave whatever is left here.  The water I am a little short on.  I buy these big water-cooler-style bottles of water down the street and carry them to my apartment.  It makes no sense to buy another one, because they last me a month.  If I run out, I can just buy a two-liter bottle or something, but those cost about the same as the big ones.  I may have to throw some produce away, but I'll try to use it all.  I'm good on trash bags, and I'll just leave any extra in the apartment.  I had bought a huge bottle of stevia when I first moved in, and there are just a couple of tablespoons left.  It was really cheap; about four bucks.  I just bought new coffee yesterday, but I can bring that with me. Still have a big bottle of soy sauce; don't know if I'll bring that because it could open up and get all over everything.  Anything else that I just have a small quantity of will probably just get tossed.

Last night, I opened my windows to get some fresh air in the apartment, and to cool it off after cooking dinner, and a whole bunch of mosquitoes swarmed in.  That is the first time that has happened; I leave my windows open a lot of the time.  But they were bothering the hell out of me while I was trying to sleep, and I finally dozed off about three in the morning.  Well, I probably won't get malaria or dengue, or any of those other tropical mosquito-borne diseases that are endemic around here, right? Who knows.

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