A person that travels to Vietnam is often struck by how so many things look old and worn out. Looks can be deceiving. Remember that I have been living here one year so far? In that year I have purchased motorcycles and bicycles that are for customers to rent. I also purchased An Electric and Manual bicycle for Mai and I. Both are showing signs of rust and look a lot older than the mere 8 months they have been used. The house bikes look like that have brand new exhaust systems are speckled with rust. There are other things that corrode much faster. Not understanding his a year ago leads me to make some bad decisions and wonder at the time why some things were so behind the times here. Here is a typical example:
I wanted to purchase a safe for my house to later be used at the hotel. I shopped around absolutely dismayed that finding a battery operated keyless safe seemed to almost be impossible to find. Why I thought? They are so common everywhere else…. All safes here seem to need keys to open here…. As a matter of fact, everything seems keyed. It leads to a person having to lug around a heavy bundle of metal everywhere. I finally found a keyless safe and 10 months later I cannot get into it. The conducting plates for the batteries have almost totally rusted away. When I attempted to open it with the emergency battery box, I found it hade corroded beyond use also. I did end up getting it open by doing some McGuyver like jury rigging. So there it is! Another small piece of the Vietnam picture has fallen into place. It looks to me that most metal products unless washed regularly have a life expectancy of about 1 year before deeding to be refurbished. I guess that explains why there are so many bike washes in Vietnam.