Sunday, August 31, 2014
"Day 3 - Sight-seeing"
After that, to golden city to shop for some essentials such as food, hanger, tissues, pillows and even foot odour eliminater. Yup. I need it! Haha!
But, here's the highlight. We got lost (again) when using taxi enroute to our university. We have told the exact location but this driver seems to pretend to understand and took us to the middle of nowhere. It was dark and I'm with three girls so we were scared as shit. We called Mr Cheung (Keng), asking him to explain to the driver the direction to our uni. We got charged 527,000 dong.
Upon arrival, we saw the boys and asked them to carry our stuff. Oh, I forgot to mention that we dont have an elevator and our apartment situated at the 5th floor of the building (DOM A).
By that time, I was like, " I am in need of a shower, food, smoke and bed."
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Day 2 - Exploring Golden City
"Hehehe", the sound of giggles coming from the ladies. I soon realized it was already day time, 8 o'clock to be exact, and was told that we're going to have a meeting at 1pm so we have an ample of time to actually relax, have a little breakfast and a smoke break.
At 1pm, we were all dressed up to meet Mr. Cuong (pronounced as Keng), Vinh (the Program Leader) & other Bruneian students. We were taught a famous North Vietnam song named "Quán Hōc" and was asked to sing along. It was quite funny how the words are actually easy to memorize. The tone, on the other hand, is not. The words goes like this,
How long I love you? I dont know,
Maybe I love you for so long.
Since you went away, my life has been through the darkest days.
I need you! I love you with ALL my heart!
Please come and take me home!
He also told us the importance of knowing one's age, with the reason of respecting any older people. For example: Unlike Brunei, Vietnamese people who are older than you, lets say, aged 29 have the privilege to do oreat anything more than the younger people.
Apart from that, he also told us the exact location of Fpt University (or Fpt Dàk Hõp) which is in Hoa Lác. The meeting ended two hours later. After the meeting, we checked the university out. To my surprise, we actually have a big convenient store, salon and a laundromat.
We then decided to first eat some lunch in the room so we cooked some Indo Mee Goreng using rice cooker, and go on a trip to Royal City after. We called the taxi (Taxi Group) and waited for it for nearly an hour. Turns out they had a problem and delay all of the request today. It was pouring rain. I was annoyed so I asked the security for some help. Communicating with Vietnamese is really difficult and frustrating. I need to use some hand gestures to actually get some sense out of our conversation. I even tried to google translate it but he still failed to understand.
Twenty minutes later, the taxi arrived. We decided to change from Taxi Group to Sõn Táy (the taxi's name). The scary taxi ride costs us around BND$28, one way.
When reached at the Royal City, we were so amazed at how breathtaking the view was. The place is filled with lights and people, but the building is quite small from the outside.Turns out the mall are actually underground. it was so huge that we actually need the hour night to cover just one level. Another amazing this is that there is a huge space with a huge fountain in the middle of it.situated at the back of the building.
After taking pictures of the view and being Asians/ tourist-sy, we went for dinner. The food was delicious and really really cheap. Jas ate chicken while others ate fried rice. People like us always had something on the side; this time its calamari and "fries fried" (yup thats how they spelled it!).
Next, we went to FOS to shop. I bought two shirts, Nazatul bought a sweatshirt while the other two girls spent around 2 million Dong (BND$100+). Other than FOS, there are varieties of shops at the mall from Aldo to even factory outlets. I personally love 'Robins'. It's like Parkson but cheaper & selling a lot of cute stuff. I even got the time to check some sport shoes & this New Balance shoes caught my eyes. Its cute & costs around BND$86.
It was nearly 10 o'clock and the university gate closes at 10pm so we decided to check any cheap hotels available nearby. So, the two key words for you right there are "cheap" & "nearby". Clicked on this app I love called WeHostels and check any hotels or hostels available for the night. I found a hotel that cost around USD$7 per person & showed it to my friends. We didnt book this hotel but agreed to check it out. It is 4km away from Royal City.
A small backpackers hotel named Little Hanoi Hotel, which located at Bat Dan Street. The charges for the taxi ride was 160,000 Dong from Royal city and the journey took about 10-13mins.
Along the ride, we found another mall that caught all of our attention. It was big and filled with tourist. It's like a 'Quilap' kinda place but better. Way better. We also found a mall filled with branded goods from Louis Vuitton to Gucci & everything in between. To our surprised, we were actually at the city centre.
Overall,the city trip was AWESOME. Total Spontaneous! We didn't bring any toiletries and fresh clothes. It was crazy and so much fun. I cant believe the girls are really up for it.
till next time, readers.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Day 1: Bound to Hanoi
The morning was quite boring. We woke up and went for breakfast. The breakfast in RELC International Hotel is just so-so. I wouldn't recommend people to eat there as it has limited choices of food served. Izza went for its classic fried rice with a side of sunny-side up, Jastina went for a mix of both fried noodles and rice and a side of muffins, while I stick to its Caesar Salad and two cups of black coffee. I'm not a big fan of breakfast but went for it anyway.
After breakfast, we went back to the room and showered. We packed our stuff and checked ourselves out by noon. Taxi arrived minutes later and went straight to Changi Airport, Terminal 2.
First on our agenda was to change our money to U.S & Dong currency. Second on the list was to buy some perfumes as the girls wanted to buy some for themselves, while i go for the Guardian to buy the snoring strips. We had 2 hours to spend so we basically went through the entire terminal. Thirdly was basically spending most of my time at the smoking room as i am in need of one. The hotel we were staying in is a non-smoking hotel. Could you imagine the agonizing pain?! Haha! I bought my self one carton of Marlboro Ice blast just to stock up.
We also had a quick bite at McDonald's before going to our gate. We were rushing at that time but when we reached there, flight to Hanoi was delayed.
Three hours & many minutes later, we safely arrived in Hanoi. *Hanoi is an hour late than Brunei* As we reached the airport, i couldn't help but wonder, "in the land of Hanoi, weren't the weather to be cold?" & if so, why am i sweating. The process was quick but painful as i looked onto the wheels of my luggage bag broke. Damn! Haha.
It was pouring rain & carrying the bags into the bus was not pleasant. Besides that, the bus ride rely on honks. It was scary shit. I managed to see the environment of Vietnam & i have to say, its not to my liking.
The first university we went was Hanoi University. It is located behind a convenient store (kedai runcit). It's funny to see their reaction when they knew that was their university. (Oh, we were joined by 5 other students from FOS who will be interning in Hanoi). The place was really dark and a bit scary, if u ask me
But my reaction was much more worse; I entered my room with a feeling of a doubt. I think this was a mistake. The bunk bed was fine but the mattress was as hard as rock; no sheets, one small pillow and the thinnest comforter I've ever seen. The air-conditioner is not working properly so i guess I'm sleeping under a fan tonight.
I found myself, crying in my room - feeling lonely and missing home. After few minutes of sweating, i texted the girls and asked if i can sleep over at their room. Since its a mixed dorm, its ok for me to sleep with them tonight. There. Problem solved.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
"what went down"
As we boarded the plane, we were really quiet and tears still pouring down our cheeks. It was a sad moment for us. It was also an embarrassing moment as our seats were located at the back of the plane so we had to pass the other passengers. I tried myself not to look at them as I walked down the aisle.
When seated, its surprising to see us; still in mute, still red-eyed and still sad. It wasn't long till we received our food, we decided to talk about it. Turns out, the feelings we faced were mutual. The flight wasn't as bumpy as I thought it would be and we safely arrived in Singapore two hours later. Since we're sitting at the back of the plane of Singapore Airlines, we were the last one to get out from the plane. As we checked ourselves out, we were in panic due to the fact that we cant find our luggage in the belt mentioned on the screen. Jastina and Izza waited in front of the belt as I asked for assistance. Turns out our bags were on hold and ready to go to Hanoi so we dont need to take them out.
We reached out for taxi and 25 mins later, we arrived at our hotel in Orange Road. The hotel's name is RELC International Hotel. It is located in Orchard district and provides 3 beds with a reasonable price (www.booking.com - $212 plus tax). We freshen up a bit and went out to eat Shiraz. It was delicious. After eating some Shawarma, we strolled around the street and taking in its view. Soon after, we were drenched in sweat. We walked back to the hotel which took about 10-13 minutes. As we reached our hotel room, I quickly had shower and ate the dessert (Kek Ros cakes) that my friend gave me. I have to say the best cake batik ever!
Izza went to sleep early while Jastina and I had a one on one talk about our feelings for Hanoi. I found out that she was really nervous as I was. We don't know what to expect and don't know what could happen there.
So, i'd say 'let the adventure begin'.
Today's the day i'll be flying off to Vietnam. As of now, my bags are packed & room are cleaned. I woke up today, feeling blue but yet excited - as this is what I always wanted. Although its not the destination I want but I'm glad to be out of the country.
I am in need of a new atmosphere. I am in need of an adventure.
I am in need to be independent.
As I stare upon my ceiling, I couldn't help but wonder "is this going to be fun or is this experience going to be a living hell?" This program I signed up for encourages & exposes us to follow the lifestyle of Vietnamese, so it wouldn't be as luxurious as other people think it would be. I'll be staying in a dorm - one room with 3 boys, on a bunk bed and one bathroom. (Mind you that the lower part of the bunk-bed is the study area).
In the previous post, I mentioned that I will be teaching Primary School. Recently, i found out that the school is located 30-45 mins (walking distance) away from the dorm. We were told that for the first month, we have to walk to school. It is a problem to me as i sweat a lot. But even that, im looking forward to experience it. I have this (positive) thinking of going back to Brunei, looking fit. Who knows what a 45 mins walk can do to me if i do it everyday.
"Shafiee you're so gonna be thin!", says no one ever. Haha!
The Vietnamese children goes to school 6 days a week but here's the twist, they only spend at least 4 hours in school. So the other 12 hours (minus 8 for sleeping), I am free to explore Hanoi - which probably going to cost me $50USD a round trip to Uni as it is located 40KM away from town.
When i reached to the airport, i waited for Jastina and Izza to arrive so we can check in our bags and as we all know, i am always over packed. I can never pack light! Since my friends & I booked the tickets at the same time, we were given 30kg each. And, 90kg is not enough but thank god, the lady was so nice, she gave us the free-card.
So, after checking in, i found myself drenched in tears - ready to depart. I would like to thank to those who came; my family, Wani Azaman, Qistina Murad, Babu Tini, The Sweet Sutras clan, Bumaayee peeps, Amal Syaza, Dya Mashor, Kharney Firdaus and my spice girls (Safwan and Nadz). I love you all & the goodbye wouldnt be as depressing without you all there. Besides that, i would also like to thank those for the do'a and the 'duit'. hehe.