Feeling lazy…

It terms of laziness, I don’t know if you can go further than lying naked in a hammock while using a laptop…

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Porsches and Pasty Foreigners in Long Xuyen

Yesterday evening I saw a Porsche Cayman driving along a narrow street in Long Xuyen. This particular kind of Porsche is very good looking and the one that is occasionally spotted in Long Xuyen is yellow.

Yellow Porsche Cayman

However, I felt bad when I saw this beautiful automobile just creeping through the streets because of all the motorbikes. Then I past by and noticed a woman was driving it. Then I really felt bad. It’s like this car was sent to automotive hell: “Your punishment is to live in Long Xuyen, Vietnam, AND be driven by a woman,” said the Satan of Cars to this particular Porsche.

At lunchtime today, I was driving home through the hot sun and noticed a pasty foreigner crossing the central square in Long Xuyen.  He was wearing a sun hat, sunglasses, shorts (hence the noticeable pastiness) and hiking boots.  I wondered why he was wearing a sun hat, shorts and hiking boots.  Did he expect to get lost in the jungle somewhere in the metropolitan area?  Or had his Lonely Planet or other crappy guidebook told him that Vietnam was still 98% covered with canopy jungle?

Seeing this dweeb reminded me of a certain professor that comes to An Giang University every year, and every time I’m seen him, he’s wearing boots, cargo pants and a khaki vest.  It’s like he expects to be on safari here.  I wouldn’t be surprised if these foreigners–who tend to be middle-aged men and on a quest to find some sort of glory, as can be seen with their safari/jungle gear–don’t start wearing pith helmets and white linen suits.

Weight / Badminton

I’m 82 kilograms (180 pounds). It’s possible that I haven’t weighed this must since 2002. The only thing I can accredit it to is badminton. I’ve tried for years to start an exercise regime, but end up getting bored soon after and lapsing back into lethargy. But badminton has kept me interested for more than a year now. I discussed this once with Michael H., and we decided that just exercising is boring; that motivation is needed. Michael said that he needs to chase a ball (as in soccer) and I said that I need to chase a shuttlecock. It certainly does feel better to be a bit physically active and get soaked in sweat a few times a week.

I had a good day at badminton yesterday and got thoroughly exhausted to the point that my arm is a bit sore today. But I played hard and got some good wins. Maybe that’s another reason why plain old exercise is boring: there’s no chance of winning.

Badminton

Yesterday I played badminton for three hours. My class was canceled so I was free in the evening, and I hadn’t played a good day of badminton for something like three weeks. It was absolutely glorious. I played hard and gave everything and won a few well-deserved sets. At the end of the night, every article of clothing on me, from my hat to my socks, was completely soaked in sweat and dripping. I’ve only got about a month and a half left of this crazy busy schedule of mine and then I hope to be able to play more regularly.

Heat and Lack of Electricity

Last night I slept for most of the night in a hammock. I was getting ready for bed and about to put my mattress on the floor—my room is so small that I have to lean the mattress against the wall to save space during the day—when I realized the tile floor seemed to be radiating heat. I was just walking around in my bare feet when I felt that the floor was hot. This was at about 11 p.m. and the sun had been down for nearly six hours.

It was at this point that I decided that I didn’t feel like having the heat from the tiles being absorbed by the mattress and then into my body, so I got out my hammock and its collapsible frame and stretched out there instead. I woke up at 4:30 a.m., and although I wasn’t entirely uncomfortable, I decided to switch to the mattress just for the sake of normalcy. Also, I’m used to waking up in a mattress, not a hammock.

So I slept on the mattress for another two hours and then pulled myself together and got up to prepare for my day. I’d just plugged in my electric water boiler to make myself some instant coffee when the power went out.

I’m not sure if someone is out to get me or what. I’ve been having terrible problems with the electricity supply at my current place of residence: Last weekend the power was out all day on Sunday and I literally woke up in a pool of my own sweat and couldn’t sleep any more the whole day. Then yesterday at lunch time, when I was exhausted and really needed a nap, I had just lay down with the cool breeze from two fans on me, and then the power went out and sweat began pouring off of my body.

So that’s three times in less that one week that the electricity has been cut for me. Only one time has been an all day outage, but these other two times are the most inconvenient times possible: Once when I’m tired and trying to get a little make up sleep, and once when I’ve just woken up and I’m trying to get a little coffee in me to jump-start my sleepy mind for work.

I’ve ranted about the seemingly random power cuts that occur in this country before on this blog, and since that first rant, I’ve read a paper (I can’t remember who by at the moment) critiquing the Vietnamese government for investing too heavily in hydroelectric power as the main source of power for the nation; this leaves the nation too dependent on the weather, and as a result, during the dry season (i.e. now) electricity supplies in the nation are unreliable.

Official statements from the government here state that the nation will develop and modernize within 20 years, or something to that effect. However, it seems like pretty simple logic: if you don’t have electricity, you don’t have productivity. Not just reduced productivity, no productivity. No productivity equals no development, much less modernization. Maybe that’s why the government refuses to do anything or keep any records digitally. At least if it’s on paper, then it’s not lost when there’s not enough rain.

Sunday

I woke up nearly literally in a pool of sweat this morning; the power was cut and my room was sweltering. I decided to escape to a cafe with AC and wifi. Outside the cafe I’d seen a banner boasting that the wifi was “super fast.” However, I’m not that impressed with the speed here. I think at home where Michael and I share a line it’s faster.

Life seems weird now. It’s quieter. I don’t always have someone at my side to talk to or make random comments to. It feels a bit lonely. But then again I guess I’ve been this way for most of my life. Just feel lonely.