I’ve had to go to the American Embassy and the Vietnam Consulate (twice to that one) today and yesterday. The reason being, since I don’t have a Bachelor’s degree, I needed to have a document authenticated and stamped by both government agencies in order to let potential employers know I have a brain….I think that’s why I’ve been doing this, anyway. As I’ve said…a number of times….in this blog, it’s been a
bit lot more difficult getting a job than I’d thought it might be. If you’re thinking of doing what I’m doing, get your Bachelor’s first….it’ll take less time. Either that, or brush up on your hoop jumping skills. Sans a Bachelor’s degree, my hoop jumping skills are becoming finely honed.
I needed a document stating that I’d worked with my previous employer as an Administrative Assistant for more than 5 years. I guess they figured that if my employer hadn’t discovered I was brainless after 5 years, then maybe I actually do have a brain….. possibly…. So, I wrote an email to the folks at my last job in the States asking for a letter (the ‘document’) stating as much (not that I have a brain, but that I’d worked there for more than 5 years). They kindly and expediently complied (thanks, guys!) and I printed the letter out.
I’d made an online appointment with the American Embassy the day before and when I got there yesterday they had no record of it at all so I pouted and made an unhappy face and they let me in…. Well, it wasn’t exactly like that, but they worked with me and looked at my passport and made a couple of calls and looked me up and down and figured I wasn’t a threat….and then they let me in. After going through the security screening, I went upstairs and quickly found the department I needed (American Citizen Services). Figuring I’d probably be there for easily an hour, I was amazed when all paperwork, stamping and payment ($50.00 USD) was completed in less than 45 minutes. Wow….efficiency….cool!
Since I had got done a lot sooner than I could have hoped for, I went in search of a café with wifi. I was hungry, thought it would be nice to check my email and wanted some caffeine. I found a nice one nearby. They had a tv with a sort of MTV-type channel on. Pretty loud, but it’s always a fun trip to watch….if a bit retro-80’s to listen to….actually, that’s a blog post in and of itself. I ordered a dish with shrimp, noodles, bean sprouts, greens and a poached egg on top – good lord, it was delicious. After a while a speaker started blaring really loud music I guess I’d call Bossa Nova. I’d still had a tab loaded on my internet with a program I’d been watching earlier. I was tempted to turn it on and just start watching it. I mean, why not? It’d only be one more level of noise and would be a lot more engaging! (To my fellow Physical Sciences nerds out there: the program is called “The Fabric of the Cosmos” and it was produced by NOVA on PBS. Check it out – it’s fascinating!). After a while, and quite thankfully, the tv was turned off and I was able to endure the Bossa Nova while I finished my meal. I wish I could always have my camera with me, but sometimes it’s just too cumbersome (especially when I’m carrying my computer) and I go out without it. Just outside the café were buildings painted the most breathtaking colours. Huge blocks of vibrant red, bright green, a sort of deep aqua blue and orange. The description, of course, doesn’t do it justice. You just don’t see such bold colours like that being used on buildings in the States and it was really beautiful.
By the time I left the café it had started to rain. I went out to the street to hail a cab but couldn’t find one. There are some streets in Hanoi where taxis are not allowed and this must have been one of them. A xe om approached me and I thought, “Oh well, I’m already wet.” So I took the xe om over to the Vietnam Consulate wherein I needed to obtain further authentication. Riding a xe om in the rain is, gosh darn it, just not as much fun……especially when the driver doesn’t know where the Consulate is….and those streets are looking awfully slippery….. One thing I’ve noticed about xe oms, though, is that you can always joke with them. You may not always speak the same language….sometimes you do….but they’re always ready with a laugh. That’s been my experience, anyway. So, lost in the rain, or not, it was still fun.
We finally did make it to the Consulate and I walked in, soaked. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a clown or I have a sense for the ridiculous or what, but walking in there, I knew I was a sight…..foreigner….dripping wet….the whole ginormously tall thing….you know….. So, all eyes on this creature that just sloshed in and….what the heck…I just started laughing! Smiles all around….it was great! Clueless as to which window to slosh up to, I just went to the nearest. Fortunately the person spoke English quite well and I told him what I needed. He gave me a form to fill out, which I did and brought back to him. He said I needed to come back the next day (today), which I’ve done. It took all of 30 minutes and 30,000 Ð ($1.50 USD – quite the price difference, eh?) et voilà:
I brought my camera – instead of my computer – with me today and after leaving the Consulate, I strolled about and took these pics:
I love the view on the right with his coat tail ‘flying’ in the breeze!
Lenin Park….can’t think of a nicer place to hang out, skateboard, maybe play a game or two of washers with all the great folk back home….!