Long time, long time. I have arrived at Kafeville after walking for nearly two hours—twice as long as it should take, but there was an incident at a buddhist festival that required spending some time photographing. It always seems to take longer to walk from origin to destination than Google Maps estimates, anyway. However, I have arrived, and I am very happy with some of my photographs, so all is well. I also picked up my passport with a fresh stamp extending my visa for another month. So far the day has been quite productive.
Earlier in the morning Troy and I visited Bat Trang, a small village across the Red River and a short distance south, famous for its pottery and ceramics. We apparently timed our visit poorly because the town was asleep, one might even say comatose, with nary a soul out and about. When we arrived though, a couple bus loads of children had been dropped off but they vanished as quickly as they appeared. Beyond that there were only two western couples that we saw there. My guess is there is a schedule of sorts to follow if one wishes to catch a view of more than half open shops. Often, and the reason most people, by my understanding, visit Bat Trang is that one may watch these skilled ceramacists and potters create, and also have the opportunity, for a small fee, to make something themselves. This was not the case while we were there. It still turned out to be a pleasantish and interesting enough stroll. Vietnam is currently undergoing an enormous economic boom, and this is growth has not been relegated to only larger cities it seems, because Bat Trang has numerous construction projects underway that we saw while there.
A local Tay Ho cafe is hiring english speaking baristas and a cafe manager. It’s a place I frequent, and I’ve spoken with one of the two owners on several occasions, so I am of the mind that she posted it expressly so that I may see it and enquire (which I did at Troy’s insistence; he in fact is the person who alerted me to its presence). The next time I wandered in she began asking me probing questions about why I was in Vietnam, how long I might stay, if I liked it, and if I would consider moving here! Another reason why I think that even if the notice wasn’t specifically for me (because they’re obviously in need of the help) there was at least a hope that I would express interest. As I wrote, I’m interested but this requires some thought. I didn’t necessarily leave the U.S. to take up residence in another country, not that that thought is out of the question, but just now seems too soon, at least as a place of semi-permanent residence, but in the mid-term it could be a brilliant idea, for the desire to travel will surely not wane (this is one reason the decision is as difficult as it is, because normally I would jump at an opportunity like this). On the other hand, I’ve met a beautiful and adorable Vietnamese girl who lives in a town about an hour away. That we could continue to see each other is a good reason to stick around longer to see where that may lead. However, I DO want to get out of Hanoi for a bit—either to Da Nang or Hoi An—and with the cafe owner’s partner not going to be back in town for one or two weeks the timing for all of this is a bit, shall I say, not ideal. As well, our apartment lease is up on the 18th, so I will be needing to do something by then. Hopefully my suit will be ready to pick up.