Thankfully the banging and the grinding is supposed to come to an end tomorrow. Did I mention? The construction crews next door are chiseling the walls to run the electrical system. It has driven some customers away, but others have stayed thankfully. I had a bit of a surprise today. Word of our hotel is making its way slowly on the internet and through recommendations from other hotels. We are starting to get booking for as far as six months in advance. Wow!! I will have to decide on some kind of policy regarding rate changes and peak times. My prices are being kept low by some restrictions placed on me, but those restrictions will be lifted in 3 to 6 months. Oh well…. I will deal with that bridge when I get to it. Today I have started to set up services that I can offer to my customers. Services that will be a good value and a good time. Of course I will make a small commission on the bookings, but that is what it is all about. Being the first Western hotel in this area makes me want to strive to do the very best I can for my customers. It is after all……. A matter of face to me.
Yesterday was a tough one. Another test of wills, mine against all of them. I will not go into any detail, but I think the issue was resolved. Later I have to go the office of finance. They have been giving my receptionist the run around and I am willing to bet if I show up with her with a mean look on my face, service will improve.
I spent some time sitting at the rear of the hotel on a stool looking out the kitchen door after dark. There is a greenhouse behind us., a great place to watch the wildlife. There are rats in Vietnam….. lots of them. You will very rarely see them unless you are out at night. They do not bother you, climb into your bed, or try to steal your food. They are just a part of life here. The same is true of cockroaches and locusts. Mai is very particular about how clean things are to be, and any cockroach or rat that has ever ventured into out place so far, just heads on out for lack of anything to eat.
In 1975 all hell broke out in the south. There was fear and rightly so. The southern Part of Nha Trang in the area of the American base became littered with arms, ammunition, and even rotting foodstuffs. Anything that might tie a person to an alliance. Maybe disposal of all materials helped some, but not all. Boys and men who survived were sent to re-education camps. The women and girls sent into the jungles with machetes to clear them. Many passed from disease and hardship. I have a sister-in-law who lost half her hip due to this. All of a sudden the gainfully employed, became unemployed, and unemployable. Some still to this day. Growing older from her teenage years after seeing death and persecution, it was now time to enter the working world. Prospects were not very good coming from a family from the south. Mai worked in the black market buying and selling anything that might make her a profit. One of her profitable ventures was to use old army gasoline cans to smuggle sharks fin soup. She was attending school and learning English with the never ending dream of one day marrying an
American. She encountered many hardships as did the rest of her family, and Mai being the stubborn gal that she is decided in the 1980’s that she had had enough and was going to try to escape to a better life and marry that elusive American or die trying. This was the time of the boat people. A tragic tale that broke many families, took daughters and sons away from their parents, and showed the true evil that mankind can really display. Vietnam was in turmoil. Who could anybody trust? You think the Americans could not tell friend from foe?? It was no easier for the Vietnamese. People from the south felt that there was very little future and wanted at least a chance to better themselves or their families. With this mindset, many started the process of escape. These masses became the boat people. If you are too young to remember their plight, I suggest you read or watch a little of this tragic time in Vietnams history. It will give you a good understanding of the resolve and courage the Vietnamese have. Soooooo…. Mai has made up her mind and is going to escape or die trying. Many did die……….. To be continued Oh by the way….. did I
ever mention that I include random pictures? ?