The time has come. My time for traveling is about to finish. I am sitting in a restaurant in Lao Cai at the border between Vietnam and China. In 2 hours my night train to Hanoi will depart, leading me slowly and inevitably to my new job at the WHO.
Shortly about practicalities. On Monday my plan is to a) find a cheap flat, b) meet Hugo, a Mexican living in Hanoi who has some of my things stored and c) repair my shoes to be office-appropriate again. Then, on Tuesday, it's D-Day. My working time is 8-12 and 13-17, Monday to Friday. My Vietnamese telephone number is +84 1666 544 001 but my Finnish number is working as well (once I buy a new cheap phone, my very old Nokia finally gave up so I only have one phone working right now).
My trip all together went very well. I had enough days to cover what I wanted, I didn't get sick and I only suffered minor scams. I also had the chance to talk to people about Hanoi and Vietnam in general, which almost made me a bit worried.
Vietnam has a terrible reputation among travelers. Ask anybody and he will tell you about the time when he was charged the four double price, when he was kicked you of a bus for not paying extra or when he was pickpocketed by some ladies selling candy. Two couples I met left Vietnam earlier than planned because they couldn't stand it anymore. I am told the Vietnamese are a race in itself. They will frustrate and annoy me and I just have to bear with it.
Hanoi has also got varied feed-back. Some love Hanoi, its old streets and its good food. Some hate Hanoi, the dirt, the noise and the hassle that is there 24/7. I have been asked why on earth I would want to work there. Well, it was Ms. Fortune that dealt me this card and my personal opinion about a place usually varies from the common one so I'm not worried. This is an adventure. We wouldn't want it to become too boring, would we?
I am constantly thinking about subjects I could discuss here. Unfortunately Internet access isn't very common in the more remote areas so posting here has sometimes been a small challenge. From now on, I will be in Hanoi and I will maybe even answer the messages I have received.
Time's up. Wish me luck.