This morning I woke up to my wife saying she had bad news. Oh great, I have not even had a coffee yet and something is up. It seems some kind of monkey burglar scaled the outside gated and barred wall in the night and made of with the new bicycle that I purchased to rent and my staff to use. It could not have been an easy task. The wall is 12 feet high and has spear-like points at the top. After getting in, they would have had to climb back out with the large bike in one hand without letting it make contact with anything to wake up my night guy who is sleeping in the lobby. After examination, it seems it was a two person job. One to stand up on the edge and the other to hand the bicycle up. I guess they deserve the prize for all the hard work they put in. It cost me a 35 dollars brand new. I have learned a lesson and will now store things that can be lifted easily in the lobby at night.
Another odd thing happened last night. A taxi with 10 men and 2 coolers showed up in our lobby at 11pm. Luckily I was up and I told Lich to make sure to be strict about the 2 person per room rule, and charge extra if they wanted more. They argued a bit that this was the hotel they always come to in the past. We informed them that they would probably be much happier next door and that is where they ended up. Thank the lucky stars they did not want to pay the extra charges, because 15 minutes after they checked in, the Taxi girls started showing up on their motorcycles and all the yelling and negotiating began. It must have been hell
for the legitimate guests that were trying to sleep there. At least people in our place could sleep.
OK, here is short one about pets that anonymous suggested. People here do have pets, but not as we have them back home. To us, pets represent companionship, love, and devotion. A pet helps lift morale and make us feel loved. In Asia pets serve a very different function. Here they are a part of defense, luck, or superstition. Small yappy dogs are everywhere. They are kept in the yards as noise makers to protect the estate. I will defy you to walk 100 yards anywhere in populated Vietnam without being barked at. Cats are rare. I have seen some, but with the number of brainless dogs, I am sure they
run out of 9 lives fast. The medium and larger dogs are a smart, really smart. They are not pampered and fed like in home, but often have to fend for themselves, or work for the food they get. People here think that they have to have a dog in order to keep the property secure and to chase off would be thieves. The problem is that they are barking at everybody that passes anyway, so if a person entered the yard to steal something, the owner would not know the difference. If the dog was aggressive enough to bite perhaps, but most just run up to you and make noise. Then there are mellow and laid back dogs that are not kept behind closed gates. They watch the going on with experienced eyes, and just laze around until something worthy of their attention comes their way.
Also, there are the fish. The most extravagant is the Arowana. These fish can cost as high as 1000 US and are usually a status symbol. Of course there are the Carps and goldfish you see in many restaurants. The Asians have a superstition that any harm coming there way will be absorbed by the fish and therefore, if a fish is found dead, you were spared from something. I guess the real pets just for enjoyment here are the songbirds.
The Vietnamese have a passion for different singing birds. Often you will see groups of people all getting together with their big cages and just sitting mesmerized by the singing of their birds. So far I have seen no evidence of rodent kind of pets.
Oh by the way….. On the topic of pets. Some people think that the family dog can become supper in Vietnam. That is not so! There are dog restaurants through out Vietnam, but they have become less popular over the years. You will never mistakenly eat one in a common restaurant as you will actually have to seek out the specialty restaurant, Also, it is just not any dog that they serve. There are specific breeds that are raised as meat animals. I have been to these restaurants a few times and must admit that the food tasted fine.