Frustrating days

Not happy with these guys

My subject matter of the blog has swung from its original
purpose of keeping family and friends advised on how I was adjusting to a new
life, to a travel advisory for people wishing to experience Vietnam.
Perhaps I have lost track…. I now only blog once in a while when I can find
subject matter worthy of writing about, but I still have events in daily life
that can be an insight to Life in Vietnam. I guess I have sort of
lost direction…… So here it is. Here is some basic insight to life in Vietnam….Lets
talk about the past few days……
Every morning for the past 4 days I have been waking up at
6am on the floor of my lobby. That’s right! My night receptionist is in Saigon and I have no choice but to be the night security
person for the hotel. Here is how it all came about…….

A real beauty

For months, I have been waiting for the opportunity to go
into training with a specific individual to become an easy rider. An easy rider
is a person who will take a visitor on the back of his motorcycle for a tour of
the central highlands of Vietnam.
I had a single guest of the hotel want to do a tour and I was able to secure
(my teacher) a guide for her. We worked out an itinerary and I was excited to

Dry Dock

be joining them. Two days before it was time to leave, I was informed that my
night receptionist was going to leave at 9 pm. Huh??? What are you talking
about? Apparently, he had arranged to have 4 days off to go to Saigon, and all of my staff never thought to check with
me or let me know. Everyone just assumed it would be OK. I proudly kept my cool
and spent the day depressed, thinking about how I could continue with my plan.
AHA!! I could have the day receptionist double shift and have my nephew sleep
in the lobby for security. My wife and receptionist agreed and I had a glimmer
of hope that I could continue with my plan. Evening came and we called our
nephew to come over to help out but found that he is currently working a night
shift and was unable to help. Well that was that. ….So here I am…. The boss of

in for repair

a hotel being forced to sleep in his own lobby because all of the people around
him seem to have more freedom.

I have written before
about how some things in Vietnam
can be an exercise in frustration. Well, my buying a pair of glasses has become
one of them.

Glasses are very inexpensive in Vietnam and it was time to get a
new pair. I went to a place and had a new pair of titanium glasses fixed with
self tinting lenses. The frames cost me about 20 dollars and the light weight
quality lenses cost 40 dollars, the eye exam included. I was a little concerned
that the optometrist did not write of the exam findings down, but hey…… this is

Nha Trang from Bao Dai Villas

and sometimes finding paper to write on can be a challenge.  The glasses were ready in one day and to my
amazement, I could see better than I imagined. Sadly, 2 days later I ended up
forgetting them in a sleeper train and they were gone. I went back to the same
store and had a second pair made. Again I was happy with the job. The very same
day that I got the second pair of glasses, I was on a sleeper bus to Saigon. In the morning when I arrived, I was saddened to
discover that I had slept on them and the new lenses were broken. Damnit!!
While in Saigon, I took my broken glasses to a
shop and had replacement lenses made. I prepaid 45 dollars for them and when I
picked them up, I realized that the eye level was not quite correct but at
least I could see. I did not argue too much about their error and wore them
with the intent of replacing them when I returned home. Back in Nha Trang, I
returned to the same optometrist that laughed that I was back for a 4th
pair of lenses. Again he made lenses, but when I tried the glasses on, I
discovered that there was something not right and I could not see clearly. I
suspect this was due to him not originally writing down the results of my exam,
or re measuring where my eyes fit in the glass. He redid the lenses but when I
went to pick them up. I found that there was still the exact same problem. I
have no idea why the first 2 sets of lenses were perfect, but the last two were
not. Frustrated, I decided to go to a large popular optometrist in the Downtown
area. This shop told me that they would use a much better quality lens and the
cost would be 160 dollars. I was also guaranteed that the glasses would be very
good. I reluctantly agreed and put 50 percent down. During my exam, the
optometrist kept on insisting that my left eye needed a specific power lens
that was not clear. I told him over and over that I could not see with that
lens, and after trying a few more, came up with the lens that was clear. He
told me It was not correct, but I argued with him it was because I could see
clearly. We finally had everything settled and I returned the next day to pick
up the new glasses. I paid the balance and left. I noticed that the lenses were
thicker than my old ones and that my distance vision was not quite right. I gave
them a couple of days before I tried the one eye test and found that he had
gone back to the weaker original power he thought it should be and not the power
we had settled on during the exam. I returned to explain to him that he did not
do as I asked and now I needed the lens redone. I was not only asked to try
them for another week but that I had not paid for the entire bill. Whaa??? I
had paid the balance and was given change. I have a feeling that someone
pinched a million dong and was blaming it on the young salesgirl that there was
not enough cash. Now my getting the glasses adjusted were held ransom for me to
pay an extra 50 dollars. I did pay it because I know the amount will be
deducted from the poor employee’s salary, and I felt sorry for her. I continued
to explain that there was no point to me trying to wear the glasses for a week,
when taking them off, the right lens broke off at the mount. Huh? I picked up
the now broken glasses from the floor now angry. The glasses that had now cost
me 200 dollars not only were broken but when I applied a pressure test to the
other lens, it easily broke off. These lenses were garbage!!!!! Now angry, I
slammed down the broken lenses on the counter while the optometrist cowered in
the background letting the poor girl deal with my dissatisfaction. My 200
dollar glasses were no longer covered by a guarantee because I broke them!! I
could have had my other optometrist make 4 more pairs of lenses with what
seemed better quality lens material than this big popular store.

I guess you do not always get what you pay for in Vietnam.

Sadly, after having 6 pairs of glasses made in the past
month or so, I have none.
And some random pictures

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Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

3 thoughts on “Frustrating days

  1. OK Owee, enough with the glasses, I’m gonna take you to get prescription goggles like the olympic swimmers wear. Then you will have no excuse for losing them. You can even get them tinted for the sun….hahaha! Hot tip…buy stock in the optometrist that you use and you might get a break on pricing.

  2. When I stay with you in August I was going to ask about glasses, I do hope you get someone sorted by then

    and a dentist……………..or should I wait until KL ?

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