There were vague rumors that the April 1 lock-down was going to last for two weeks, but I was out doing some pandemic related errands yesterday in the wilds of District 2 (outside Thao Dien). Lock-down is still a thing.
I needed to take care some business, so I decided to break out of the foreign ghetto and go see the Viettel people about getting my old phone number back. I mentioned that I “bent” quarantine in March to replace the Samsung J7 I left in Narita on the way to Phoenix. They were able to sell me a phone (Redmi 8 – last year’s model, but cheap and super battery) , but couldn’t get me my old phone number, so I was using a tourist sim for the last 4 weeks. Not a big deal during quarantine — but not good enough if I ever get to go back to being a free-range foreigner. A lot of services are tied to your phone number here (Grab, Whatsapp, etc.), and I’m pretty sure that I used the number on forms when I did my health check on on 3/17.
It seems that Grab is no longer offering cars for riders anymore, so it was Grab Bike or walk. I decided to walk.
Crossing the river to Greater District 2 (that is, crossing the highway to the footbridge) was not that hard, but that might be because of lock-down. Roads were empty.
But the rest of the city was even more shut-down and sad than the foreign area. I was on foot, and some of the Google map directions were bringing me to some pretty funky, backwards-looking neighborhoods. When I finally found the Viettel shop, it was extremely closed. For years, perhaps. Clearly not the right place, so I checked Google maps for the next option. It was about this time that my internet ran out, so I was committed to the last address on the screen. No taxis, no grab, no cafes — and for some reason no convenience stores.
It was hot but I had plenty of water and a mission — especially if my burner SIM was out of data. I had to get this taken care of today.
It wasn’t that bad, though I still couldn’t find a convenience store — which are packed together right next to each other in TD. Eventually I made it back to civilization, and found the right office. I was able to take care of my business with minimal problems — though trying to communicate in a language you don’t understand with a heavy mask is very difficult.
I’m back on Whatsapp, if anyone cares. I also am back on my regular phone number — 358 730 228 . But email or linkedin still the best way to reach me.
Stay healthy. Stay hydrated. Stay away from other people.