I am sitting in a cafe having Cafe Sua Da with Bill, and talking with a buddy overseas using yahoo. Two stunning women just walked by flashing us sultry looks……
Yesterday the drivers license saga continued. We needed more photo copies of a document and another 4 hour delay. Did I mention in the last blog that a person has to wear formal clothing when dealing with any branch of the government? After the day before chastising, I dawned a dress shirt and jeans, and spent the day overdressed for the heat. Thankfully, I have totally adapted to this climate and am actually finding + 24 or 25 chilly. (Imagine that)At 4:00 pm I found myself sitting in front of a serious looking individual in the licensing section. He spent an time eyeing me…… eyeing my documents… shuffling through papers the whole time. Then he abruptly told my wife that I was much more handsome with my weight gain than in the photo. We had a chuckle, and he added a stamp to the mountain of stamped paper. Approved for all classes of vehicles in Vietnam. A license like mine costs thousands of dollars for a local to get. And 2 years in school… Wow!! I pick it up next Friday pending no more complications…. But this is Vietnam, who knows.
Here is a tip to anyone wanting to get a legal driving license here. International licenses are not recognized. The police will generally leave a tourist alone and unlicensed individuals can generally drive hassle free, however, if you cause a collision? So, if you want a local license, make sure to have a motorcycle license from your home country. That way there is no road test, just a paper conversion.
Another development was that Bill and his sweetie Giang, bought a shiny new Yamaha. Li’l Sissy looks a lot like it, but is older and not as good a quality of his. Of course, the bike had to be purchased in her name. When you purchase a bike, it must be registered in the area you live. Usually the dealership or store you buy it at can do this. You can buy the bike anywhere, and drive with no plates, but you have to go home to get the plate to be insured. Along with the plate comes the insurance at a cost of 80,000 a year. 4.00 US. Interestingly, this insurance does not cover liability or personal injury. The insurance simply will repair the bike if damaged in an accident. The person repairs him/herself. Possession of these two papers is nine tenths the law. Anyone’s name can be on the papers, but whoever presents them own the motorcycle.
I also want to add a little about housing and how things work here. I added in a note to the housing blog. Currently the government is opening the purchase of land to foreigners.
Good news for us. There will probably be some limitations attached, but for now this is a giant leap. Up until a short time ago, we could not stay in a house anywhere without greasing a few palms. Utilities are read by a person at our front gate. They do the calculation on the spot and you pay in cash. It does not matter who is occupying the premises.. just pay and it is done. If you do not have funds available, no problem, they will return to collect when you have the cash. If you miss a month, well, just pay next month. Don’t take too long though.. You don’t want your place taken control of. Some people wire in extension cords and hijack their power.
One last humorous thing;
My wife is easily startled. I only know of one person who may startle easier. I always get a kick out of a person who leaps into the air, or reacts fanatically at being surprised. This place is great for that kind of thing. The thunderous horns and startling traffic are not humorous, however, there are critters everywhere. Small lizards are in and out of the home. They are harmless and eat insects, so let them keep you company. There are however some bigger critters that cause severe reactions I get a kick out of. Unfortunately I have not been getting to many photo’s because I am busy herding them or chasing them away. Only this morning, My wife opened the door to go outside and was greeted by a large lizard the size of a small iguana. She freaked and caused the same for the poor lizard. Instead of running away from the house, it ran directly inside the kitchen. I was forced to laughingly chase the poor critter around, and try to force it outside. I failed. It found a place in the house to hide and I fear I will have to deal with another panic episode tonight or tomorrow. (chuckle) Another neighborhood denizen is giant frogs. Last night one was sitting at my front gate as if waiting to gain entry. I obliged and it started it’s lumberous plopping hop towards the house. My wife would have none of that!! She danced around until I could get it re-directed towards the culvert out front.
Ahhhhhh does the fun ever stop?