Archive for January 2010
Today, on a whim, I asked my staff Du ( a freshman in college) to write a mission statement for our bookstore. So she spent a few hours and came up with this little gem
U.S.A Books is an independent bookstore committed to providing essential English educational resources in Vietnam-a developing and loving country. We not only have an interesting and diverse selection of books, but also offer public access to all books in a comfortable, inviting, and inclusive reading environment. We order books from all around U.S.A to provide customers who care about specific subjects and life-enriching products with the fastest and the most reasonable shipping service.
We pride ourselves on offering exceptional, personalized service to the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and book-lovers and to all members of the surrounding communities in Vietnam.
We offer our knowledge, books, and services in order to help foster intellectual growth, enhance the quality of life in our community, and broaden the personal, educational, and professional experiences of our customers.
What can I say? I have the most articulate and ass-kicking group of employees ever!
As told by a redditor:
I feel ashamed to reply to this with a story that I didn’t witness, it happened to a guy I went to highschool with. It’s quite fucked up though, so in that respect, I’m glad I wasn’t there to give a first-hand account.
He and his wife moved to South Africa and one night 2 burglars broke in. They managed to corner the burglars with a shotgun (don’t ask me how/why they have a shotgun) and tied them up to chairs and called the police. While they were waiting for the police to arrive, the burglars kept saying how the police would arrest them, charge them with a misdemeanor (or whatever the South African equivalent is) and after they served their short time, they would come back and rape the girl/kill them both etc. After the police arrived, the guy spoke to them and told them how the burglars were threatening to come back. The police said, “Unfortunately that’s probably what they’ll do. Everyone would be better off if the burglars were killed in self defense with that shotgun… so… we’re going to leave the room… aim for the head.”
EDIT To all the latecomers to this thread, and those waiting for me to finish it: Sorry! They dude did, in fact, shoot the burglars.
Guess what he is thinking about:
a. Is my price increase from 5K vnd to 6K vnd a good decision?
b. Is my arrangement of coconuts attractive enough?
c. Do I look funny? Why is that guy taking pic of me?
d. Should I push my cart more into the opposite traffic to get customers?
Saigon…Fun all the time.
I have had my fair share of fights in Saigon. Girl on girl. Guy on guy. Guy on girl. Couple on couple. You name it. I have seen it. But never have I chanced upon a battle, where 2 gangs are using metal pipes on each other. In rush hour nonetheless.
I pulled out the camera and recorded as soon as I could but the fight ended as soon as it started. In retrospect, I dont know what is more macabre, the fact that we saw a few bloody faces or that we just stood there and nonchalantly watched it unfold.
A vendor will, in most cases, overcharge if he sees you are not a local. This happens less in the South than in the Central or the North. Some places even have it in writing (as if that makes the ripoff any less of a ripoff). Last time I was in Hanoi, I checked in a hotel for 20usd/per nite. When they saw my passport, it turned into 25usd.
In Hoi An restaurants have 3 menus, one for the local, one for the Vietnamese tourists and one for the white tourists. We got the local price that time because we were with 2 local girls.
This practice however happens not only in VN but all over the world. Last summer we had to spend a night at Ollantaytambo because the Backpacker train to Machu Picchu was full. Well not exactly. The foreigner coach was full. The local coach still had many seats available. We even tried to convince a local to buy us tickets using his ID (promising to give him the price difference between 50usd and 3.5usd) but he refused (IDs are checked regularly on the train). The next morning, after we arrived in Aqua Caliente, we had to pay 14usd vs 10.5usd for the bus ticket to Machu Picchu. Once there it was 43usd vs 22usd for the entrance ticket. In total it cost us around 100usd for being a foreigner. Even worse, it was the Peruvian government, not the people, who created the double pricing policy. What a way to promote tourism.