Every day my life in Hanoi is more or less the same. Because of my habit of familiarity, I can tell you my daily routine down to the finest details. Do you wanna read it? Okay…
I wake up. On nights I sleep well, I wake before eight. On nights I struggle, I wake after noon.
I lay in bed for 30 to 45 minutes, rolling around, holding my phone, and checking all the messages received throughout the night.
I soak in the day’s demands and drag my ass out of bed.
I go to the shower. I don’t shave. And, about 19% of the time, I shit.
I shower for only a few minutes. I turn on the hot water. I let it wash over me. I grab a bar of soap and I gently rub it on my body and rub more rigorously on my genitals. When my bits and my pits are lathered in soap, I rinse and wipe my naked body with a towel (go ahead and take a moment to think about that — 😘).
I walk back into my room, drape my towel over the back of my chair, and began dancing around while my bits bounce up and down and all around.
I stop dirty dancing because it starts to get weird (and I have things to do, dammit).
I pack my bags. I grab a bottle of water. I double check then quadruple check my belongings and body to ensure I have everything I need for the day.
I open the door to my room and close it behind me. I insert my key. I turn two full rotations. I walk down the hall.
I twirl and swirl around a set of stairs that leads from the third floor to the first floor. I kick the cat at the bottom of the stairs, begging for food like a homeless whore. I go to the front gate and unlock it if it is early morning or slide the lock open if I woke up late.
I walk out onto the street and start walking away. I walk passed people hustling and bustling and hurrying on whatever errands they have.
I stop to eat at a local shop. I order a bowl of Phở, sometimes chicken, sometimes beef, for just 25 000 VND ($1.43 CAD). I finish it all and sip the soup then wake away and thank the old lady who makes such a delicious, fine meal.
I round a corner and see a cage full of chickens. I watch in amazement as a married couple grabs a chicken (occasionally a duck) from the bamboo cage, sticks the head in an upside-down funnel, then slits its throat to drain the blood. I have also seen the post-murder scene of this couple diligently plucking the features from the skin and preparing the meat for their customer.
I continue walking through the streets, passing by a haphazard market with fish swimming in kiddie pools, dirty water oozing over the road, discarded scales, vegetable bits, and more blood washing the street dirty.
I stop at a convenience store called Circle K and buy a Kit Kat.. I love this Kit Kat because it has an old fashion packaging, an outer wrapper followed by a plastic wrapper and finally a tinfoil finish. I walk and eat
I weave through streets and dodge oncoming traffic. I cross intersections and occasionally say hello to local guards. I get honked at and looked at and, on rare occasions, talked at too.
I arrived at Cộng Cà Phê. I order coconut chocolate or coconut coffee smoothie on hot days or a Vietnamese Americano on moderate days. I pay whatever I owe then walk upstairs.
I take a seat near the window, usually on the left side of the room, sometimes on the right side of the room, but never in the center. I sit at the big table if my favorite spots are taken. I sit on a low seat right next to my favorite seat if all seats are taken.
I wait for my drink and look at my phone. I do nothing but relax if I ordered a coconut mixed smoothie or go straight to work is I ordered a hot coffee.
I open the lid to my computer when I’m ready to work. I start on my blog first and foremost. I write whatever witty, weird, and
I start my client’s work when my own writing is down. I go through each project, based on priority, and submit the finished deliverables when I’m done.
I write smart. I work hard. I negotiate contracts. I request for more. I finish on time. I finish before.
I write and I work and I write and I work and I write and I work and I write and I work and I write and I work and I write and I get distracted for an hour and I write and I work and I inspire myself and I write and I work and I wrote and I…
“Sir, the cafe is closing!”
I nod my head. I finish or close off the job or task in hand. I pack up my belongings. I walk downstairs. I say, “Thank you! See you tomorrow!” to the lovely staff at Cong Cafe.
I leave the cafe and start walking to find a place to eat. I struggle to find food so I always walk to the restaurants near Puku/Xofa Cafes. I don’t recommend Puku/Xofa Cafes, their prices are high and their services are strange (more on that, maybe, in a future post).
I sit in a spot that’s away from most people. I receive the menu and flip to the same set of food I order each day:
I receive my food and continue to read or write messages with my left hand while my right hand diligently uses chopsticks to feed my mouth.
I eat. I stuff noodles in my face. I swipe right (never left). I take a swig from my beer. I write a witty message with my thumb. I burn my mouth on the deep-fried tofu. I take another swig of beer. I take to evaluate the bottle. I finish the last half in a single swig.
I order another beer and continue to eat. I eat. I stuff noodles in my face. I swipe right (never left). I take a swig from my beer. I write a witty message with my thumb. I don’t burn my mouth on the deep-fried tofu (it had time to cool down). I continue to eat until everything is done.
I slowly enjoy my second beer while reading a book on my phone. I started reading Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life until I was introduced to 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos. I can’t stop reading this book. I love it. I resonate with it. I’ll read it again.
I finish my beer and evaluate my state. I drink another, not to get drunk, but enough to not think.
I get up. I go to the restaurant boss lady and pay 120 000 VND ($6.86 CAD) for a two-beer night or 140 000 VND ($8.00 CAD) for a 3 beer night.
I tell myself I’ll never come back to this place if the food was not cooked at the same quality as the day before. I come back to this place because the food is, more or less, the same as the day before.
I go to Puku Cafe to piss in their toilet. I wiggle and pinch then start walking home.
I weave through streets and dodge oncoming traffic. I cross intersections and occasionally say hello to local prostitutes. I get honked at and looked at and, on rare occasions, talked at too.
I walk over train tracks and watch rats go scurrying away.
I arrive at the front of my home between 11 pm and 1 am and slip my hands through the holes to unlock the gate.
I twirl and swirl around a set of stairs that leads from the first floor to the third floor. I wonder where the cat at the bottom of the stairs, begging for food like a homeless whore, sleeps in the night.
I walk down the hall. I arrive at my door. I insert my key. I turn two full rotations. I open the door to my room and close it behind me.
I put my bag on the chair and I jump on my bed.
I look at my phone to soak in the day’s achievements and message my friends.
I lay in bed for 30 to 45 minutes, rolling around, holding my phone, and wishing I could sleep and my mind wouldn’t think.
I wake up. On nights I sleep well, I wake before eight. On nights I struggle, I wake afternoon…
I go to the same places, order the same food, and do the same thing each day.
This is my daily routine.
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