Change is in the wind. I have written before of the development going on with large housing projects and super hotels, but there are other smaller changes that are not visible to the tourist.
Life can be hard here for the local Vietnamese and they are adept at finding ways to make a life for themselves. Almost every available space on walkways ore allies can become spot to offer some kind of service or sell a product. Tourists can sometimes become confused about where they are or where they have been because of the ever changing look on the street. An example is just around the corner from me. In the morning and during the day, there is a busy motorcycle and bicycle repair shop, but come dark it transforms into a fruit juice and smoothie restaurant. Another is a sidewalk just down the road. In the morning it is lined with small red tables serving coffee. In the afternoon it is an empty sidewalk just like it was created to be. As the sun sets, beach chairs magically appear and the sidewalk is transformed into a sugar can drink and date location. Street vendors are everywhere and the changes throughout the day is a part of what makes this place a wonder, however, these very businesses are at risk!. The government lately has realized that all businesses should pay tax. Even the small street businesses paying a small amount will add up to some good revenue. There is also the case that NhaTrang (and the rest of Vietnam) is swelling to the bursting point with new hotels and tourist attractions. The police seem to be determined to put a stop to congestion of the sidewalks and clean up the place so to speak. These businesses are illegal and the police are showing up in trucks to haul away the little street stand, tables and chairs and other items. The poor street vendors are trying to live in this new world by keeping a careful eye on what is coming up the road. Luckily for them, all police here have a very identifiable red license plate that can be spotted from some distance. There are a number of fish ladies that sell from big steel bowls on the street in my location. I feel sorry for them as they work so hard and are chased away by the police many times a day. They hide and wait until they are gone before coming back to set up on the sidewalks. Some of them get their inventories confiscated or even arrested. I have had a feud going on with these gals for some time now because they are noisy and their product smelly. It is not such a good business to have in or near the entrance to a hotel. Also, there are no toilets for them, so they just squat on the beach in front of us (no where near the people enjoying the beach thank god) to do their business. It is something I really do not want to see. The result is that slowly some of my favorite street food places are disappearing. I feel sorry for these people that have for years set up a small business t draw some much needed money into their lives. These street vendors have always been here but now???? Change is in the wind.
I wonder what is next…. Maybe the government will discover personal taxes? Up till now, it seems the only revenue they get is from business and import and export taxes.
I broke my camera and cannot take any pictures at the moment. I have a stand by and will arm myself with it, but I have been so tied up at work/retirement, that I have had no time.
Oh….. And did I mention that I walked the streets of Saigon without being offered sex??????? Ooooooooo Very scary….