A few random photo’s and…….
Let me tell you about a little secret I know about. Some people with incredible self importance stayed in my hotel. They felt so into themselves that there was no need to present us with the legally required id, but instead produce a heavily stamped paper claiming that they were from the anti-corruption squad from Hanoi. No problem… If they are a paying customer, and a good one, they can be from the gay dancing football team for all I care. Money talks and scumbags walk…… These 4 people were in NhaTrang to catch and report people who are taking bribes and being influenced to bending rules and laws. They had the audacity to try to have my reception to issue a receipt for more than the room charge…. Do they think we are stupid?? Huh… Imagine that… Anyway…. I was late renewing my Visa
exemption (a silly thing having to renew an exemption) and while sitting in the office to explain my reasons, a fellow walked in with a stack of passports stuffed with money. The commander of the immigration office stood up and yelled at the subordinate that this kind of thing was no longer acceptable and that the Chinese workers would have to be expelled unless they renewed through legal channels. Wow!! I guess my guests must have gotten to them.
Just because they are sending people here to try to clean things up does not mean that is done. There is still a lot of corruption here and I will tell you a little about it. I myself do not pay anybody anything that I am aware of, and when I do get an indication of people fishing for bribes…. I push back and try
to scare the hell out of them. Usually the big mean angry foreigner approach works, or playing dumb and asking the person to have his boss contact me for clarification. I have had a few situations where I am not sure and finding the answers are illusive. Here is one of them.
After 5 months of business, we were approached by a woman asking for the 3 month fee for garbage collection. She advised us that the bill was 240000 dong. In an underhanded way she advised us that she could record that we were not busy and only charge us for half of the hotel rooms and take a bit for herself. My staff went for this offer and when I returned to the hotel I saw a receipt for 110000 but an actual cash payment of 160000. My Vietnamese is
not good enough to express complex issues, and the checking I had my staff do into this situation did not get me the results I wanted. I do not know if the garbage charge is based per room or per building. All attempts I have tried at getting to the bottom of this has been “ it is Vietnam and it works this way” Perhaps next time I will just ask for the bill and try to pay in the office to see what is up. The problem is, that everybody is fighting me on this as they are 100 percent convinced it will end up costing us more money in the future.
It is a sad fact that many people I know in the tourist areas have been caught up in some kind of bribe and corruption scheme. They were blind and followed the advice of their Vietnamese friends who did not know any better, and now are stuck in the mode of feeding some kind of corruption. Sometimes it is the police just to look the other way, and sometimes it is the travel agent or the immigration official to renew their stay. It is sad. All of
the things that the expats are paying for are easy to do if you are above board and open, but they have been convinced that under the table deals are the only way they can exist here. So sad for them. I am happy that I live a little bit apart from them. The hassles are few and almost all of the people I deal with are legit. Not only are they legit, but they are people of character and worth knowing, people who can become friends. Hopefully the corruption squads can strike a fear into the abusers and things will become easier for the foreigners (and the locals) who are prey to the money grabbing officials.
My TV is now working. For how long I do not know. There is a quality issue in Vietnam. Everything here is done on the cheap so many of the products sold will contain parts that did not meet the qualifications to be sent to North America. What is worse is that the warranty system here is totally different than at home. Get a replacement for the damaged product???? No Way!! I have tried twice and that seems not to be an option. I have had service men worked to the bone trying to repair my items, but never an offer just to replace it and return the defective device to the manufacturer. Perhaps the items are manufactured here of bought on a no return policy?