We’ve now been in Vietnam for about 6 weeks and our post rate is still pretty low. I’ve had writers/artists block and for the past week I’ve been trying to push myself to create something to post.

Elena tells me not to worry too much about context or making the perfect postcard but I can’t help myself.

Today, to loosen up my drawing muscles, I took out my sketchbook and drew the view from our balcony that we see every morning. Our house has an awesome balcony upstairs and we go there after breakfast every morning to drink tea before getting on with whatever we are doing that day. As the view is so great, we usually end up spending most of the morning up here.

View from the balcony drawn

We live in Ho Tay, at the edge of the largest lake in Hanoi. It’s full of Westerners and some savvy Vietnamese have made lots of money by building flats here to let to foreigners at high rates. Overall, the price is affordable for us, and we have fallen in love with our place. It’s the perfect size and has a swing on the roof – what more could you want!

The view from our balcony is of lots of sloping tiled roofs, arranged in a fashion that only makes sense in Vietnam. Here we’ve found it almost impossible to find any address as they don’t have postcodes as such and most roads have “alleys” associated with them. So for example, you may want to find a place, and it’s called “Alley 30, Blahblah Road”. When you turn up, expecting to find a small alley, what you find when you get to Blahblah road is that there’s this “alley” which is actually a full size road, coming off it.

In addition, numbering of places is not that obvious at all. We’ve found that in some places we visit, the number of a place may apply to a whole block rather than to a building so we’ve spent a good deal of time getting lost in Hanoi.

However, every day we get up, have breakfast and look out over this view, so for all Hanoi’s peculiarities, life is good.

View from the balcony

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An e-learning professional and physics teacher by trade, Andy discovered late in life that he rather likes art. He set up my REAL wall and mailart365 to make and send as much art in the post as possible but spends far too much on postal costs

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