Posts Tagged ‘fun vietnam’
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.
We surf all day. Just the 3 of us. A few meters away little schools of fish are jumping around, possibly being chased by a bigger fish. The water is a brilliant baby blue, reflecting the color of the sky. Far away is the immense mountain range, covered by old growths of various kinds.
At lunch we go back to shore, walking on whitesand beach to a little thatched hut. Awaiting us is a hot meal, a 2.6 kilo grouper steamed with various herbs. We eat, we laugh, we lay on hammocks sipping coffee that tastes like coconut.
Full and tired, we then take a small nap, lulled by the crashing waves and the cool wind.
When we wake up we surf again, until our shoulders can’t move, until our lips are cracked with salt water, until the sun goes down and the sea is the color of rose.
The next day we do the same thing. And the next day….
Van, from Quang Nam, a central province in Vietnam, missed his wife so much he slept at her grave for 20 months. When he could bear the rain and the cold no longer, he dug a tunnel into the grave and cuddled w/ his wife there. His children, and the village authority, out of fear and hygienic reasons, forbade him so he stopped. Not for long however. On one auspicious night not soon after, he sneaked back to the cemetery, dug her up and took her home. He then proceeded to spend the next month making a life sized statue of her and put all the remains in there. From then until now, he has been sleeping well. His neighbors, who used to shun him, now treat him fine.
Van casually telling the story to the freaked-out reporter
He and the wife
The complete story, in Vietnamese
Vietnam has given me the chance to do lots of things I never imagined I’d do. I figure I should list them down, so when I grow old and senile, I could look back and go “Did I really do that?”.
Nghe An is a province in the Northern Central part of Vietnam. It consists mostly of forests, and if you trek deep enough from Vinh City, you will reach Giang river, where the minorities live. The rich make money through illegal logging. The poor hunt, farm and fish. They live up and down the river, which is cool, green and the main artery for all who live around it.
For this job, I traveled 4 hrs from Vinh on a Dream, hired a wooden boat and for a half hour went up river to deliver a few eggs to a man living on a floating bamboo house. Who knows what he does there or whom he lives with. All that matters is the eggs were successfully delivered and he had a nice hot omelette the next day. So to the half naked man living in the middle of nowhere…”You are welcome”
In Saigon, business spills onto the street pavement. In Phan Thiet, it spills onto the shore, where entrepreneurial Vietnamese sell souvenirs, drinks and of course seafood.
Like nowhere else on Earth, here on the sandy beach of Phan Thiet, the food’s source is almost 0 meter away from its consumption.