My jetlag must evidently still be pretty bad considering I slept in until 12:00 and basically wasted my whole morning away. After dragging myself up and out of bed, I hurriedly washed and dressed before hitting the streets of Tay Ho. Tay Ho is said to be the more ‘Western’ part of Hanoi, with side walks full of white people sporting their loose, hippy pants and slops. Because I myself am a White People™, I decided on a late breakfast at Starbucks which consisted of a honey ham bagel and caramel frappacino.
Chris and I then took a walk along the outskirts of Westlake. I couldn’t help but notice that all of the street workers, from garbage collectors to construction labourers, were women. This is something which we don’t see much of back home in South Africa because these professions are more male dominated. So that was interesting to me.
Westlake itself is massive and is said to have a shore length of 17km. Because today happened to be extremely overcast and misty, there was no way to tell where the lake met the sky, making everything seem otherworldly. Some men were even in the lake itself with fishing nets, although after seeing a dead fish floating around near the shore we thought we’d better not take our chances.
We happened to stumble upon a little market selling clothes, jewellery, and artwork. Me being me, I ended up buying some bracelets and a notebook. A little way down the road, we landed up at Phu Tay Ho – a beautiful temple dedicated to the Mother Goddesses and the Jade Emperor. People line up outside the palace to leave their offerings for the Goddesses in exchange for good fortune and health.
Chris and I are now home organising CVs and job interviews. It has felt daunting being in Hanoi with no secure job or apartment as of yet, however we have both been getting a lot of responses with regards to English teaching positions so I’m not feeling too anxious yet. I’m hoping to land a stable job soon though so that I can apply for my working visa and resident permit. By then I think I’ll feel a little more settled and at peace with this new country.
Tay Ho has definitely been my favourite area of Hanoi so far, mostly because I didn’t feel as overwhelmed by all the busyness. Or maybe I’m just getting used to Hanoi.