A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about tips and tricks

What's that Smell?

A Few Realistic Aspects of SE Asia Travel

sunny 32 °C

Amy Says

Hello from Hoi An - the quieter side of Vietnam. So far, we've talked about the bigger details of our journeys. Today I thought I'd detail a few of the more colorful things that we've experinced. Chris and I take all things things in stride, and with a sense of humor partly because we aren't just traveling to Des Moines and these things are to be expected. And also because well, what can you do?

I know I will never take my bathroom for granted again. It will be my porcelain god. Ha!

Matters of the Toilette
Almost all bathrooms come with a somewhat dirty looking sprayer next to the commode. You know, the kind you see next to your kitchen faucet. I asked Jett (back in Thailand) and she said it was to "clean your butt". Bathrooms in restaurants or public places are usually very small (truly a water closet) and very, very wet. TP is usually not available and so you bring your own. In these places there is no flushing, so beside the sprayer is a basket of wet, used TP. In some places, there is no toilet - just a hole in the ground. And a few places, a bucket of water is there and you can scoop up a bowl full, and use that to rinse it down. No problem, really.

Oh, I've been using my long hair to dry my hands.

The WC on the train got worse and worse as we went south. I think my butt said, "No way, jose" and I somehow easily held in the more complex bathroom usage for over twenty four hours. Chris too. Ha!

Matters of Money
There is someone who will take your money from you at all times. Chris and I have been ripped off on many occasions (see her taxi stories). They may lead you astray and then you pay extra to get yourself to where you need to be. Or they grab your stuff, and you don't know if they work there or who they are and you pay money you didn't know you had to pay which is ten times as much as the next guy All very frustrating. Sometimes you kind of get mad - it's the principal, you know? But then you figure it out and maybe it cost you one US dollar and so you just let it go. Still, it does get maddening. I tell you, negotiate BEFORE you get into the taxi. And if there are a lot of people offering the same service, find out which one will take you for less. Don't let them rush you anywhere.

Also, no one here seems to have small bills. 100,000 dong is equivelant to about six US dollars. No one, sometimes even the restaurant, seems to be able to break this. Your hotel cannot break this. The ATMS dispense this denomination, but no one can make change. It's a strange thing. Impossible to even buy the whistles, peanut candy and geegaws they want you to buy.

Hoi An has been somewhat of a reprise from the touting, at least they smile back when you smile and say no.

Little things keep you sane, like my ipod playing Hawaiian music for me.

Really, it's not too bad if you are patient. It's a poor country and "America is rich," as our bell boy said to us in Ha Noi. You can read this, and say to yourself, yeah - I am thankful of what I got. Or yeah, that's the way it is there. But until you are spraying your nether regions as you squat in pit a Da Nang, how appreciative are you?

More soon. Love and Aloha to all,


Posted by Antonogurl 20:58 Archived in Vietnam Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (3)

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