Writing & Living in Hanoi, Vietnam
Vietnam has been cited as a top location for expat retirement for a number of years now. With that mind, I decided a spot of forward planning was in order.
Then, as usual, I went off at a complete tangent and began thinking about what little part-time gigs I could get to cover beer/pocket money and stop me from getting bored. So, here we have four belters of ideas for little side hustles that don’t involve teaching English to brats that would rather be someplace else. You’re welcome.
Wedding singer – Who wouldn’t want a giant, sweaty Tay belting out some slushy Vietnamese number at their wedding? Learn four or five popular Vietnamese wedding songs, invest in a powder blue suit two sizes too small, and you’re away, I reckon. The downside of this particular gig is that it’s fairly seasonal and you would mostly be doing gigs in Hanoi or other urban areas. But also getting a pretty decent scoff into the bargain. The interesting part would be price resistance. Just how much could you get away with charging for mangling Vietnamese ballads? And how many weddings could you perform at in one day?
Xe ba bánh – Buy a little three-wheeler and become a shipper. English is spoken. Again, you would be looking at Hanoi. Tay Ho Preferably would be a good company name. Better still, when you feel like a little kip, just pull in and jump into the hammock in the back. (Xe ba bánh-ing may be a closed shop reserved for military veterans. Maybe someone can clarify that point? That said, I do recall seeing a Tay with a three-wheeler in Tay Ho transporting his family around a couple of years ago. Doubt he was shipping anything else though.)
Fatness instructor – There’s plenty waif-like Vietnamese around that could do with putting on a few kilos. Not everyone wants to be 40 kg. There’s a small but sizeable niche market there, for sure, who would gladly pay me to share my secrets of weight gain.
Number One: get yourself a Vietnamese wife. That’s good for 10 kg straight off. Two bowls of rice at dinner and two beers are compulsory. Also, cut out going anywhere near a gym and walk nowhere. Ride your motorbike everywhere, no matter how short the distance. Preferably park in the actual doorway of your intended destination. If it happens to be a shop or roadside stall, don’t even get off your motorbike.
Refuse to climb stairs and always take the elevator. Replace your hand fan with a battery-operated fan. These are just some of my pro tips to obtain that chunky Tay figure you have always wanted.
Trà đá stall – How difficult can it be? You just need to find a spot on the pavement and invest in a few flasks and shit. You might not make a heap of money, but you will meet lots of interesting people. Possibly police officers.
Vietnam sure beats the UK for pensioners and body swerves that perennial financial dilemma of whether to buy some puff pastry and a can of dog food for dinner, or switch on your two-bar electric room heater instead.