At night at 7 pm the city was quiet. This usually busy place fore some reason or another became calm. Most of the hotels are empty and I saw very few tourists wandering the streets. I talked with a restaurant owner and he confirmed that business was way down. He explained to me that the tourism industry seems to flow like waves. They swell and crash and then are gone. That re-enforces my need for a few long term renters. Now…..
Yesterday I told you that the anti-corruption task force was here. I have run into the exact thing that they are here to deal with twice. The first incident was a construction crew showed up at the hotel to start some long awaited work to the sewage system. It has a damaged pipe and drain water is being forced up onto my sidewalk and runs down the street to a old fashioned drain. We got all the correct permits and work was about to start, when the Inspectors, and the police arrived. There was much yelling and cell phone calls. The hotel next to me and the other business on the corner were eager
for us to get started and the sledge hammers came out. They began to break up the sidewalk and the inspectors ran over waving their arms to stop the process. As it turns out, there is a 1 meter wide property that has a main drain in front of it. The drain is a dangerous open pit style that a small child could fall in and drown. This is the perfect spot for this seafood place to dispose of the fish guts and other garbage. Nobody likes this shop and are eager for us to do the work and end the smelly practice. It turns out that they have bribed the inspectors and police to stop our plans to get the whole corner connected to the city sewers thus eliminating the need for the big dangerous drain. To my disgust, I found out that we had bribed a city official also, and it was the two bribed parties arguing over what could be done and what could not. No more Bribes!! There are people her from Hanoi trying to put a stop to that very thing. The whole affair ended with the crews leaving and the sewer repair will have to wait for another day. I have a new purpose.
I will no longer manually drain the septic tank in the late night. Now that everybody is aware of the little shop that is causing the problems, let it overflow. The smell flows down to the drain from my place and does not affect my customers or my hotel. It does however, stink up all the businesses near the drain. HaH!! Maybe I will have to ask my customers to pee in the drains instead of the toilets to add a little extra odor. The second incident I will save for another time perhaps.
There is a chronic problem in Vietnam of drivers that should not be on the road. Firstly, driving and talking on a cell phone is much worse here than in north America. Every person her has a cell phone… I mean everybody. I commonly see people text messaging while driving their motorcycles. It is not near a hazard as it is at home since drivers here have had to learn how to drive with constant distractions and dangers all around, but it still is a
problem. But worse, is the amount of drunk drivers. The Vietnamese men party hard after work and can go from sober to totally wasted in 2 hours. They cannot afford a taxi and probably would never think of taking one as there seem to be no police to enforce the driving laws. At night when I drive home, I treat every motorcycle with a male driver as a possible hazard, and it has saved me a number of times. I have had to do emergency swerves to avoid stupid decisions, or just plain carless maneuvers of drunk people. You will notice that I have always referred to drunk men. Yes that is right. I have never…….. and I mean never seen a drunk woman here. The women are the anchor that keeps this country sane. You do see them in bars dancing and enjoying themselves but almost always nursing a cocktail over the whole evening, or drinking fruit juices. (which are more expensive than the drinks) I witnessed a head on accident recently Only two bikes on a wide road. One bike swerved all the way into the left lane and BAM!! Had to be a cell phone.
To all those who would rent and drive a motorcycle here. Think twice. But If you insist, there are some common things to always keep in mind. After dark, there is a good chance that the person beside you is impaired. The kids on the bicycle in front of you WILL swerve out in front of you. The large truck approaching from the rear will scare the daylights out of you causing you to over-react. If you take your eyes away from anything in traffic even for a moment, you will be struck from that direction. I caught myself becoming a little complacent the other day and came close to running over 3 youngsters on a bicycle that suddenly took a sharp left in front of me. Oh, and get this……. People never look to the left to turn It is up to the approaching traffic to avoid them. Sheesh!!