All of the kids returned to school Christmas day as if yesterday never happened. I have learned that Christmas in Vietnam falls on the 24th, thus the reason for the mayhem. The 25th is just a normal day. Our Christmas day dinner consisted of raw fish and roasted chicken. I have to admit that the fish was excellent, and I will be having it again. Today we surprised the family by delivering 4 large chocolate cakes decorated for Christmas. It is a treat they do not get to enjoy very often and the total for cakes that would have cost 150.00 at home came to a total of 12.00. Mai playfully scolded a young woman in the bakery that was asking if she was my wife or if I was available for marriage… I then picked up Bill and helped him purchase some sports equipment. When it came time to pay, I tried to get Bill to do some haggling.. He would have none of it. I started to haggle on his behalf and the lady at the store jokingly chastised me because I was interfering with her profit. I backed off and she loved me for it. We ended up with business cards thrust at us to come back anytime, and I got a little look sultry look askance which I could not be imagining. (This place does boost the Ego!)
Then it happened!! Poor little sissy got tired of hauling this fat western carcass around. KaBoom!!
Back to night before last…..
The chain had stretched to the point that it was dragging in the guard and making a racket. It could no longer be adjusted out, so we headed out at 8:00 pm to find a mechanic. As is usual in Vietnam, we found a fellow by the side of the road within minutes. He worked on Sissy for half an hour removing 4 links, and adjusting the chain guard so it did not make noise. The cost… 10,000 or .50 cents US.( I gave him double.. he was happy) Yesterday in the morning, the guard started making a racket again, so I took it to the shop just in front of by house and down a bit. He repaired the noise and charged me 15 cents. ( I gave him double, he was happy) The guard lasted until…. Bang!! Two fat westerners in the middle of heavy traffic!! The chain caught and ripped off the lower guard almost causing my rear wheel to lock and coming close to damaging me and poor Sissy. As luck would have it, my Yamaha broke in front of a Honda service centre. A mechanic immediately ran out with tools, removed the guard, and charged me nothing. (I gave him something anyway and he was happy) Now we two fat men were on a mission…. Get Sissy fixed. The first parts shop we stopped at tried everything tomatch up the guard but with no success. The son of the shop owner, pleased that he had the opportunity to practice his English informed me that my motorcycle was a Chinese copy, therefore, no parts. Huh…. I stopped at a second parts store close to my house. They also had a service centre attached so, they just grabbed a set of chain guards, hammered and drilled them into shape, installed them. TaDa!! Sissy is healthy again. The total cost?? 6 USD.
Getting things serviced or repaired here is a snap. Just slowly cruise down a street you suspect has the service you need, and presto!! you will find it. Then, it is service while you wait. If they do not do it for you immediately, there will be a competitor down the street that will. It is the same weather you need a vehicle, TV, or water heater fixed.. Even if you purchase a new vehicle, it will be assembled and tested while you wait so you can drive it home. I think nowhere else in the world can a person get this kind of service.
As a sidenote:
This was the same with the 4 cakes. They had no chocolate Christmas cakes left in stock, but had some unfinished chocolate cakes at the factory. Within 15 minutes, they were picked up, decorated, and put into our hands.
Happy Boxingday everybody!!