16 April 2022

Hello! It’s been 2 and a half months since my last post, which I guess is a considerable improvement from the 6-month hiatus pre-January.

Just like last time, I’m once again on a holiday away from Ho Chi Minh City. For whatever reason, I seem to have the urge to update this blog while on holiday. Maybe it’s the break from the normal work and newsletter routine, maybe it’s just the head space that comes with being on holiday, but in any case I’m glad to be here.

We’re in Hanoi for 10 days for a much-needed break for my partner. We were due to fly up to attend a friend’s wedding, which would have been a weekend affair. But I suggested to extend our stay in Hanoi and we’ve ended up with this long-ish holiday.

Well, kinda. I’m not taking time off work for this holiday. Just going to squish all my work into mornings and stop all non-day-job engagements. No teaching. No subtitles. Just my main gig. And I’ve done all that I could last week to make this week as light as possible. So I’m looking at having my afternoons and evenings free to explore Hanoi and lounge around our apartment.

For the first time while traveling, I’m staying in a serviced apartment. Me, the hotel addict. I’d never considered staying at apartments before, but this time it was the most suitable option. We needed a one-bedroom (as opposed to just one room) so I could get up early and work while my partner’s still sleeping. And one-bedrooms at the fancy hotels in the area we want to be in are simply too pricey for my (already rather generous) budget.

While searching on Agoda, a few luxury apartments popped up. I showed these to my partner and together we picked a rather new luxury apartment that claims to double up as a five-star hotel. It has an impressive indoor swimming pool, a sauna (which is a huge plus for my partner), and rooms that look rather nice, with balconies overlooking the lake. I called them up to ask a few more questions about the room and was connected to their reservations team, who emailed me all the details and proposed a rather affordable package that includes a buffet breakfast and a lunch/dinner every day.

So, here I am, typing away from the sofa in our front room. We’re here for 9 nights at a price that’s far more affordable than it would have been if we’re in Thailand (I suspect). And the service so far has been stellar. We had requested a special menu for my partner who’s dairy allergic. And the front desk, as well as the kitchen, were aware of this upon our arrival. All we have to do is give our room number and they know we’ve got a special menu to order from.

All the staff have been efficient, polite, and welcoming. They actually smile at you and acknowledge your presence when you walk past them, which I really like. One of the things I hate the most is when staff try to pretend to be invisible and look away when you approach—I’ve always found that rather weird and unwelcoming.

We did have a small glitch yesterday when my laptop wouldn’t connect to the apartment wi-fi. An engineer was sent to our room who seemed to have no idea what he was doing. Neither did he speak English. I got somewhat (read: very) agitated because he was fumbling about in my laptop’s settings and taking pictures of my screen to send to someone whose help he was seeking. But he did manage to fix it in the end following instructions from the mysterious colleague who now has pictures of my laptops’ desktop (which I’m still not pleased with).

But apart from that episode of getting pissed off at the engineer, everything has been excellent. Unless something goes seriously wrong in the next 8 days, I’ll wholeheartedly recommend this apartment to anyone who’s looking for a place to stay in West Lake.

My partner has gone off to meet a friend in the area, so I’m just lounging around the apartment for the morning, working up the motivation to go use our fancy gym and burn off some burger babies I’ve accumulated over the past week. Maybe I’ll let the food settle for another half an hour, maybe write up a newsletter, before hitting the gym.

Then we’ve got our lunch arriving at 12:30pm to the room, ordered from our special menu.

Ah, this is the life. Feeling extremely grateful (to myself) for having worked hard to be at a place in life where I can afford such luxuries. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it sure buys comfort.

Until next time, hope you’re all doing well where you are.



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