Tiny Notes From Hanoi: A Home, a Banh Mi and Thou

Welcome to Day 2 in my return to blogging, miniature stylee.

Today we went and visited our new house. It isn’t ours yet- there is a lovely Danish family still living in it- but we got to have a second look around it for the first time since we paid four months’ rent up front for it the other day. Relieved to confirm that it is indeed as lovely as we had initially thought.

The Danes have a baby exactly one month older than Thwack, so they stared blankly at each other and howled occasionally while we grown ups looked over a spread sheet of things we could possibly buy off them.

Do you know how many hours of my life has been spent tracking down cups and bowls and cooking pots and cutlery and bedding and irons and mops and cleaning stuff?

Do you know how many taxi rides I’ve taken through brand new, immense cities with a back seat full of the exact same household crap that I’d just left behind in my previous city?

All of them, people. All of the hours. All of the rides. Sometimes  feel like I could summarize my life by saying, ‘I just bought stuff for the new flat/house/room’ or ‘I just left all the stuff behind again’.

Anyways. They even have a virtually new Ikea crib for sale.


And a part-time housekeeper we can make our own. Her name is Ba, or Three. Like Blossom’s Six, but doubled. Apparently, by having her do the grocery shopping we can save what we pay in wages in market costs, as she pays local prices and we (no matter how great our bartering skills) never will.

We will live a block from the lake. There are walkable sidewalks. There are little lanes with no traffic. It’s calm.

This could work.


New Home

The Mod Squad comes home to this


After the visit with the lovely House Danes, we came back to our moto-noisy little inner city neighborhood, where sidewalks exist to park scooters on or to grow ungainly trees through the cracking paving bricks. We parted ways- Mod Squad Working Man heading out to do Working Man things (linguistic engineering and whatnot) and me to hunt and gather a late lunch and head back to the hotel room to work.

This is where I got lunch. They make lovely banh mi out of a semi subterranean open-fronted shop. Their omelet and pate one is particularly lovely, coming in at well under a dollar, freshened up with lots of julienned veggies and chili sauce.

Thwack knows them well.


banh mi

It’s like this everywhere we go.

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About MaryAnne

I live in Hanoi. I used to live in Shanghai (hence this blog's title) but I left in 2013. I tend to travel. I cook stuff. I read a lot. I try to scare myself silly with regularity. I write about it all. A lot.