My Last Ride.. Hoo-Rah!

October 1, 2008
We will miss you Hanoi!

We will miss you Hanoi!

It’s been more than 5 months since I’ve updated my blog. I’ve been pretty busy with work/family and taking care of our baby Justin is really a handful! Things have been going well and Justin is growing up just fine here in Hanoi but he seems to be getting bored these days. We need to find him new toys soon and better places to go to so he can continue to be entertained and also for his development πŸ™‚

Yep, the title says it all. This will be my last ride in Hanoi. Returning my reliable motorbike next week! Finally going back to the home country after more than a year and it has been an enriching journey here in Vietnam. I’ve learned so much and embraced the people (lahat kami singkit kaya feel at home), adapted the culture and most especially loved the food! Vietnamese cuisine is really something your taste buds will crave.. aah.. bun cha, pho bo, bit tet, cha ca.. yum! The closest we have to Vietnamese food in Manila is Pho24 (which isn’t that good compared to here as the wife has tried it) and Pho Hoa. There’s Hue in Greenbelt though but looks expensive and I’m not sure if it’s still open πŸ˜€ Enough about food for now.

We’ll be back in Manila by next weekend and first thing to do when we land is sleep (it’ll be around Saturday 5am that time) and need to settle down the family first. I feel like an immigrant in my own country after being away for a year.. Duh! Need to find our means of transportation again and first priority is to go to Trinoma mall.. we need to breathe the mall air once again. Kidding aside, our main priority is Justin’s well being and he has a lot of toys waiting for him back home πŸ™‚ On top of that, Justin will have mucho people to entertain like his uncle and aunts. I’m certain they missed him a lot and will be quite surprised how he’s all grown up now.

What are some of the things that The Simbol’s will miss in Vietnam:

Daddy Ric

  1. Riding my Xe May (My kickass Yamaha Nouvo 125cc motorbike). I really enjoyed this and so much freedom on the streets! Zigzag, Swerve and Accelerate! If I stayed longer, I would’ve purchased one myself. Downgraded from a four-wheel vehicle to a two-wheeler but it’s the only way to explore the city here and get around. The fun part is taking Anna with me and just cruising on the streets like one of the locals. Here, yellow light means go faster! We would never be able to do this back home.
  2. Food! Goodbye to all the Pho/Bun and wonderful delicacies in Hanoi. From fine dining at Seasons of Hanoi to tourist friendly Quan An Ngon to the monobloc chairs to eat Pho Bo. What a great experience!
  3. Watching my wife haggle prices in Vietnamese. “Em oi, giam gia nhe! Dat Qua! Xin Cam On nhieu! πŸ™‚ Funny and entertaining for me yet educational!
  4. Going to work and coming home within 20 minutes only. Traffic can get bad here but that’s where the motorbike comes in handy where I’ve mastered driving on the sidewalk already.
  5. People! From my wonderful colleagues and pinoy friends to the viets who accommodated me to play Badminton with them every weekends.
  6. Four seasons. It’s my first time to experience four seasons coming from our tropical country and I didn’t even know that Hanoi had it before coming over here. The best time to come to Vietnam is October to January where you get a bit of Autumn breeze and the start of the cold Winter chill early next year. I will never forget having four layers of blanket but still freezing!
  7. Coffee. I’ve never been an avid coffee drinker but the way ca phe su’a nong or su’a da here taste is awesome! The secret ingredient is the condensed milk that they used as a sweetener πŸ™‚ more fatty but more flavor! I think the only time i don’t drink coffee is during the weekends. I recently discovered Yogurt with coffee (Su’a chua ca phe) and it tastes heavenly πŸ™‚
  8. Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter. You can literally do everything here from hanging out to taking pictures, shopping, drinking beer.. I love it! It’s a great way to unwind after a hard day’s work. It’s also the center of the tourist area here where you’ve never been to Vietnam if you haven’t got a picture of the Turtle Pagoda in the background πŸ™‚

Mommy Anna

  1. People telling her she is “Han Quoc” (Korean) and then correcting them to say, No.. PHILIPPINES! πŸ™‚

    The better 2/3 of the Simbol's

  2. Going to the wet market and buying fresh produce. The wife actually enjoys this and haggles with them but eventually gives in.. Hehe πŸ™‚ She starts buying weird stuff now like fresh lotus seeds and makes them for dessert.
  3. Caramen (their version of our leche flan) and chocolate cake in Thu Huong Bakery. Anna is singing “Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang” for this one.
  4. Vietnamese Food! Anna loves Pho Bo and this was her craving when she was pregnant. The place at Phan Dinh Phung also rocks with the yummy, hot, sizzling beef rib porridge with Fried Sandwich if you get lucky. Top that with the Tra Su’a Tran Chau or in plain English.. Milk Tea with Tapioca or sago πŸ™‚ Lastly, what would Vietnam be without eating their tasty springrolls?
  5. Discovering bliss in being a full-time mom and housewife. Ironing tons of baby clothes, feeding her two babies (me and Justin), taking care and playing with Justin the whole day, cooking, groceries and more! What more can I ask from my lovely wife except for a second baby πŸ˜€ (wearing my helmet now to prepare for super batok when she reads this).
  6. Her fellow pinoys in Hanoi. Anna developed her network of friends here too and the filipino is truly a global community. Support the OFWs! hehe πŸ˜›

Baby Justin

  1. Destination.. Manila!

    Destination.. Manila!

    The comfortable and spacious apartment we are staying in and crawling all over the place. He’s quite fond now of the wooden parquet flooring.. hehe πŸ™‚

  2. Young and Old ladies (Em and Chi) who pinch his cheeks and carries him around like their own child.
  3. Hipp organic baby food from mashed potatoes, cream chicken, corn and vegetables, ham and turkey.. sosyal na baby!
  4. Going through the park in our apartment complex.. wishing he was old enough to rollerblade or chase the other kids around.. or maybe when he grows up, ladies will be the ones chasing him instead!
  5. Disney Clubhouse Channel on cable. For less than $2/50,000vnd/PHP150, we get these amazing programs included in our regular program subscription: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, My Friends Tigger and Pooh, Pocoyo, Dibo the gift dragon, Johnny and the Sprites, Word World and all time favorite.. Little Einstein! Justin is a couch potato baby in the making πŸ™‚ From watching these shows, I’m starting to memorize the theme songs already.. “We’re going on a ship in our favorite rocketship zooming through the sky.. Little Einstein!”
  6. Quality time with mom and dad. He will surely miss me more in Manila due to the traffic and commute going to work and I hope he’s still awake when I come home 😦
  7. Being the baby ng masa. Pinoys as much as Vietnamese here love Baby Justin! He lets himself be carried by strangers! A charming baby indeed πŸ™‚

Back to reality now when we touch Philippines soil. It does get busy here in Vietnam but life is much simpler I guess. Which is why we’re going back to Manila to look for a bit of complication and new challenges await us. Tapos na po ang OFW journey ng Simbols πŸ™‚ time to head back home. This will be our next step as we continue to build a better life for our family.


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