Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Things I've noticed about my neighborhood

  • There are a lot of gardeners and maintenance workers. The government pays a lot of people small salaries to keep the area looking nice. I wonder if they are livable salaries. I don't know what the unemployment rate is here, but it appears that Vietnam ensures that a large number of the poor are at least working poor, rather than desperately poor.
  • The greater neighborhood is called Phú Mỹ Hưng, owned and developed by a corporation called Phú Mỹ Hưng. Properties within Phú Mỹ Hưng seem to frequently have names that begin with "Mỹ." "Mỹ" means "fine" in Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese language) as far as I can tell. Our apartment complex is called "Mỹ Phúc*" which means "fine-being".... I think...
  • There are four buildings under construction in my block. None of them seem to be progressing very far. They have doors with locks installed already, though, so they don't need night guards.
  • Some other homes under construction have night guards. Nice gig if you can get it.
  • Our restaurant-per-square-km ratio seems to be one of the highest in the city, rivaling only the tourist areas of District 1, AFAIK.
  • There's a Dunkin Donuts a few blocks from my home, but it doesn't sell anything novel aside from Boston cremes decorated like footballs (soccer balls). However, I found some very tasty red bean donuts at Tous Les Jours. They are only 14,000Ð ($.70) each.
  • It is almost not worthwhile to cook at home, because the kitchen gets so hot and hard to clean, and restaurant food (or street food) is real cheap if you know where to look. 
  • The only real cheap cuisines seem to be Vietnamese and Chinese, although the other ethnic restaurants are still far cheaper than their US equivalents.
  • And anyway, with this heat, sometimes you only want a smoothie and maybe some crunchy rice paper snacks. I found a great place to get rice paper snacks - the Co-op - which is an easy walk through the quiet part of the neighborhood, but it's crowded and dingy so I tend to shop at Citimart (which is a small supermarket with some locations that are as small as a convenience store) instead.
  • Instead of starlings, we have mynah birds. I love mynah birds.

*Because of course it is! Why wouldn't I move into a building called Mỹ Phúc?