The Time Traveller’s Afternoon

Is blogging about lacking Internet access like treating methodone withdrawl using heroin?

I’m writing this offline, as circumstances conspired with my lack of organisation to leave me needing an Internet connection to find out how to activate my 3G, and the WiFi signal to my room is insufficiently powerful.

However, I believe I’m having dinner with my landlords later, so I should get better signal then. I’m not even sure landlords is the right word. I’ve never rented a single room in a home before. Apparently they are only new at renting to international students too. The main English speaker in the family isn’t here today, but I reportedly have a Korean student across the hall, also studying Vietnamese.

That’s not how I know they’re new at this. I know because the department head where I’ll be studying (VNU USSH) dropped by this evening to welcome me and let me know what’s up. I’ve been trying to remember USSH in Vietnamese all afternoon, with two visitors, and now I’m alone, I just got it: Đại học khoa học xã hoi và nhan vanh. The spelling’s wrong, mind you.

The other visitor today was Trang, an  indescribably cute English teacher I already know. Due to a miscommunication, she rushed over to help translate with my landlords; believing I’d somehow rented a room without a bed. I’d actually thought I’d rented a room without bedding, which was clarified by Trang (There was bedding to come), and therefore thankfully my earlier attempt to go buy bedding was foiled as I found a supermarket (Happomart) and ATM but returned bearing only water and Không Độ.

My earlier shopping trip today was to purchase a Vinaphone SIM. Last time I was here, I had a Viettel SIM, and Viettel turned out to be distressingly competent at blocking Facebook. So this time I preselected Vinaphone, since they have good 3G rates and coverage. However, I forgot to grab the APN details before I came, and my new Motorola ME863 doesn’t have it preloaded. Now I just need to get on the ‘net to look them up…

There you go Matt. A single story, told in a single chronological sequence, with no branching. (Loops aren’t branches…)

Post-script: Welcome dinner with landlords was great. Quy (English-speaking son-in-law) was there, and I was also plied with clear Vietnamese alcohol. My floor-mate came home during dinner, and I called her “Chị”. She’s in her early 20’s and everyone laughed at me. ^_^

I got Internet working when I remembered that my HTC Dream had working 3G last time I came, so I put the SIM in that and Googled up the APN details on it.

And just like that, I am back in the world.

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