Six of the best – and worst

Having pulled the plug, I’m champing at the bit to be back in NZ, and only hope I haven’t left it too late.

Meantime, I’m already totting up what I’m going to miss, and not, about Vietnam. Below are

Six of the best

  1. The Food

    Ridiculously cheap veges, delicious duck eggs, steamed kumara, and the endless fruit. And that’s just barely scratching the surface.

  2. The Coffee

    Potent, bracing, guaranteed to get even the most lethargic white person bristling for the day ahead.

  3. The People

    Almost all of the people I’ve run into have been helpful, charming, tolerant, and ready with a smile.

  4. The Weather

    It’s hot, OK. But it’s not humid, save for early afternoon, which even early in spring is becoming hard to handle.

  5. The Beach

    As good as New Zealand beaches, right on the doorstep. Warm water, as much sun as you can cope with.

  6. Bike Riding

    No need for a licence. Just don’t run into anybody, and everything will be dandy. There’s nothing like cruising about on a fine sunny day on your own cheap transport.

  7. Six of the worst

    Yes, there are things about Vietnam, Nha Trang at least, which give me the sh*ts. They are these;

    1. The Dogs

      Like listening for a mosquito, prick your ears at any time of day, and ( almost ) any time of night, and you’ll hear a nearby, or distant, dog going off its head. These things are hideous little creatures cooped up inside, in many cases, with aught to do except yap their twisted heads off.I wish.

    2. The Horns

      I live on a main road nearby an army base. Literally every five minutes a bike-rider, or car driver, will feel the need to blast their horns. Three times while I wrote that sentence. It’s like they never thought of looking in the rear view mirror. Or both ways. Or anywhere. It’s unbelievable.

    3. The Food Wrapping

      Food bought at the store will come wrapped in so much plastic that you’ll need a Swiss Army knife, a microscope, and surgical equipment to get to it. I can only guess this is producers’ over-the-top way of convincing us that yes, it is indeed new. As opposed to used.

    4. Security paranoia

      This is typical of the older generation. Examples – 1) an apartment owner knocking on my door for 10 minutes while I tried to conduct an online class. The problem? My bike was outside the apartment, and so not secured by multiple locks and keys. She apparently wanted to tell me. 2) the same apartment owner insisting on locking an outside door only accessible via a 4th-floor rooftop. After all, someone might hire a helicopter to break in. 3) Another apartment owner securing outside doors with five locks. No kidding.

    5. The Water

      There’s no such thing as safe tap water. It has to be bought, in yet more plastic.

    6. The Banks

      Not as bad as Thailand, but everything has to be signed in triplicate. On the same damned page! Three times. Plus full name, please.

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