Saturday, July 26, 2014

Notes from a new resident of HCM City

Yesterday we went apartment-hunting. We saw eleven apartments, nearly identical in their basic layout, size, and price, and only distinguished by their location or their views. They were all in high-rise apartment complexes, some low, some high, some near the Saigon River, some near construction sites. I intended to piece together a video similar to House Hunters International, but the repetition makes it hardly worth the effort. Also, it's harder than you'd think to capture the essential parts of the HHI formula. Although we did have the initial conversations, the weighing of pros and cons, and the last decisive discussion, they did not neatly occur in little soundbites. And there's the matter of bandwidth - the hotel's wifi doesn't have very much.

Our decision was easy - we chose the one apartment on a quiet side street in District 7. It has trees all around and a swimming pool and garden courtyard and modest little indoor/outdoor gym. Instead of construction sites to look at, it has a lovely neighboring building with a French Colonial facade.

So here's the video clip featuring just the one apartment.

[I'll insert it later. Maybe our ew apartment will have better wifi.]

Rick made a movie, too. It captures the general feel of our first experiences traveling by taxi in HCM City.

Ho Chi Minh in taxis

(It doesn't embed.)

I have also discovered the following:

  • French bakeries are great for picnic lunches in a pinch, and a nice change from pho and spicy noodles. Awesomecloud is a brave eater for his age, but every kid wants bread instead of shrimp sometimes.
  • I'm already pretty competent at crossing HCM streets. It must be thanks to my time in NYC.
  • It's a bad idea to let your child carry anything while in a cab. Anything.
  • Local food is very, very good and very, very cheap. No need to seek out a Burger King or a KFC - just point to something on the local restaurant's menu, and if you don't care for what you get, keep trying. It'll grow on you.
  • No food poisoning or digestive ills, but we all have head colds - probably from the planes.
  • NYC isn't the only city that never sleeps. In the tropics, some of the best weather is at night. Why waste it?
  • Not everyone relies on A/C.
  • It's true what they say that greenery and fresh air are good for the sanity. We chose our home accordingly. No point in living in the crowded neighborhoods when there are neighborhoods with parks!
  • The Vietnamese are not fond of cats, but they're warming up to them. They like dogs a little better. As pets, not as food. Dogs and cats are not commonly on the menu, contrary to many rumors I've heard. They're not utterly taboo, either, though.

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