Last night we met with the hotel building owner to hammer out some deals and details. She is a nice woman. There are things she should, and will be responsible for in the renovations of the building. There are things we also will be responsible for. After some hard negotiation, we are very close to finalizing some of the last details. I think I have surprised the people that I have been dealing with that I am so aggressive and concise in what has to happen for all of this to come together. Being a hard ass seems to be getting their respect unlike some of the westerners in the tourist area that seem to be a push over to them. Only one final hurdle co jump tomorrow and we can have the renovation materials delivered……. Speaking about delivery…..
There are large cargo vehicles in the country, but I wish to talk about the main method of delivery of goods. Most things are transported locally by cyclo, motor cyclo, bicycle and motorcycle. A cyclo is a bicycle version of a rickshaw. It has a hooded carrier in the front and can seat 2 people a bit uncomfortably. They are quite often kept in good shape and always kept clean to attract the paying customer. The competition amongst themselves for the tourist dollar is fierce and can sometimes break into fist fights. A person will also see many older run down machines. These are usually used not only to ferry people (if it is in acceptable condition) to moving furniture and industrial supplies. They are pro ably the cheapest way to move large goods such as mattresses and other not too heavy but bulky items.
Then there are the real work horses. Motorized cyclos have a flat deck in front similar to a small trailer. The cargo placed on these vehicles can be anything. I have seen loads of granite stones, 20’ lengths of rebar, and complete living room furniture including a sofa, chairs, and tables. I am no longer surprised when I see something new. I have never seen one that looks new, and have also never seen one in a dealership. Perhaps these machines are obsolete, but keep on getting rebuilt. They all look ancient.
Bicycles are generally used by individuals to move their goods. Many of them are recyclers, or people to poor to have a motorcycle. Again, they can be loaded beyond anything you can imagine. For example in the picture attached. The flats of beer look un-remarkable in the size being transported, but imagine the weight, and how do they not fall off?
Lastly there is the true work horse of Vietnam….. the motorcycle. It is absolutely amazing at what you can see being transported by these things. Most stores in Vietnam will deliver a product direct to your door and install them within hours of the sale. In an earlier post I had mentioned that I purchased a fridge, stove, microwave, and rice cooker. These items arrived at my door on two motorcycles. Remember that these little beasts are only 110 cc’s on average. I have seen everything behind a driver from giant panes of glass, to a cow…… yes, a full grown cow! Perhaps the most memorable cargo to me was a person had made some kind of wire structure to wear around him shaped like a giant bell. The bell shaped cloak ( for lack of a better word) had four to six rings to which was attached DUCKS! They were tied at the feet and hung from the garment. Perhaps as many as 60 to 80 ducks. As I drove by him, all that was visible of the driver was his head sticking out slightly above the ducks which enveloped him in a bell like circle from head to foot. For all intents and purposes….. a cloak of ducks. As I passed some of the ducks looked at me and quacked indigently at me as if to ask what the heck was I looking at!! Smart ass ducks!!