We are so weary

Renovations finished

Tic…Tic…Tic… I sometimes wonder what path we will travel next. It was originally our 7 year plan to run a small hotel in an area that offered an alternative to the very touristy areas that most travelers go. Tic…Tic…Tic… After two and a half years of struggle converting a run down “boom boom” house to one of the more popular hotels in Nha Trang, Mai and I are coming to the ends of our endurance. Tic.. Tic.. Tc..

The good:

Our efforts have made this hotel popular and we have been honored by now countless people who have discovered us and chosen us as their preferred accommodation in Nha Trang. We have gone through a growing experience making new friends, learning more than we could have imagined about business, travel, and life inVietnam. Tic…Tic…Tic… The running of the hotel has led my path in different direction and I would not be a Highland Cruiser or a travel advisor otherwise. There is also the pleasure of seeing the ocean and sunny skies out my front door every time I wake. Tic..Tic..Tic.. We are happy to be the employer of people and pay a decent wage to help people out. But perhaps most of all….. We have attracted many foreigners into this “nicer area” (my opinion) of Nha Trang and the local economy has

Before painting

benefited from it greatly. Perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on gifts, tailoring, food, and other services in the area. Tic..Tic..Tic.. There is also the personal gratification that we were able to do exactly what everybody we talked to said was impossible. Expats and other foreign business owners could not understand the desire for a visitor to be away from the Disneyland like tourist areas and experience “realVietnam”. Boy were they wrong! During months where many hotels remain empty, we still have room lights glowing at night. It does not even matter that profits if any are not large. The satisfaction of our creations success is enough. Tic..Tic..Tic..

The Bad:

There is an alley behind us with signs posted no selling on the streets, however, people will try to make a living any way they can. (I cannot blame them) Every night at 9 pm a small street bar open up in the alley. The drunken patrons would yell and urinate against the back of my building causing customer

old lobby

complaints. In the very early morning, a small mobile coffee shop opens and the clack of breaking ice and the yelling nature of people with no common sense sometimes causes customer complaints. We have been fighting with these people for years and usually win having them move behind other hotels than ours, but they slowly drift back. The police are reluctant to do anything because like me, they understand that they are only trying to make money to survive. Well!! so are we!! Tic… Tic… Tic.. While I was guiding a motorcycle tour in the Highlands last week, we were raided yet again by the police (we thought we were protected but this is yet a new gang of bothersome pests) that found

Lobby after

nothing wrong with our operation until it was discovered that our landlord neglected to fill out a certain form when we leased the building 3 years ago. After much arguing and bitterness, we are stuck yet again with paying a non deserved fine. Tic..Tic..Tic.. You would think that with the hard push towards increased tourism, the local authorities might ease up a bit on places that attract foreigners to their area…. But no… They are stuck in a backwards thinking world and can never see beyond the moment and what consequences there might be. Mai and I have not had a day together in

old reception

a year. One of us must always be present in the hotel and with me conducting tours that leave Mai with the hotel. Even though we love our staff and family that surround us, we cannot leave them to run things for more than a few hours. Tic..Tic..Tic.. The building is in constant need of maintenance and finding even one person that can do a quality job sometimes seems impossible. The landlord in what seems typical Vietnamese style has ignored or broken every lease agreement we had. Tic..Tic..Tic..

There is a count down clock and it is ticking. We are tired and have had enough. Mai and

New reception

I have plans and our retirement will evolve. The highland tours are successful and Mai has some plans of her own to keep busy. I think the trick is to become totally self sufficient with our future endeavors. Having to rely or be beholding to others invites only grief and weariness. Sadly, it will be a shame to see our hard work and our creations fade away, especially now that it turns a profit…. I guess it does not matter in the end how muchVietnambenefits places such as ours that draws in a lot of tourist money. They really do not care Tic…. Tic…. Tic…………………….

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

24 thoughts on “We are so weary

  1. What’s it been…3 maybe 4 years since we met? The old optomism slowly replaced by a worn-down dose of cold hard reality…yep, doing business here can be best described as a ‘sport’. A sport where playing to a tie most of the time is a reason to celebrate. Even dear sweet little Phuong is, more and more, seeing just how lazy and uncaring her people are.

    I get so tired of being told ‘you don’t need that’…’it’s good enough’…’it’s the Vietnamese way’ and the ever popular ‘no’.

    We’re getting our share of Russian touristas now. The hotel the tour company contracted with does almost nothing for or with them. After a few days they get tired of same-same Vnese food and seafood then they wander up here. We call the helper to try and get more ‘grunts’ in the trenches…she cries about needing money but either doesn’t answer the phone or is busy…too busy chatting or playing games on-line.

    Phuong and I simply smile and ask them to be patient…we will give them a free (cold) beer and they wait…we will get your food out as fast as we can. They smile and say ‘no problem’. ‘Oh, this is Monday, you’re not open!’

    We answer, ‘Actually no, but you came, so we are open.’

    You and I could write a book about all of this. Problem is no one would believe a word of it ha ha.

    Don’t be a stranger dude, come up for a long weekend and bring Mai, we’ll leave the key under the mat and the light on (we may ask you to wash dishes but we pay good!)

    Bob and Phuong
    Making pizza in Tuy Hoa 😉

  2. Hi Owee,
    I’ve ben busy and haven’t read much of your blogs, but I understand perfectly how you feel. I applauded you and Mai for your effort trying to help the people there. I wish you and Mai well in whatever you decide to do and I hope that if you and Mai are still in Vietnam when we could come to visit again, we’ll get a chance to see you guys.
    Best wishes,

  3. you did it…you built the Tide up against all odds- you made it in to a success and meantime you have become ‘famous’ but seriously – who needs the stress attached to it?~

    whatever your future holds, i wish you the very best and i know you’ll be around somewhere..

    looking forward to the 12th

    see you soon

  4. Chiqui…. you make me feel all warm and fuzzy 😉
    Mai and I will be around regardless what happens. It will cost you less to use a company over here. As you know, I suggest V’Explore. I will email you

  5. Hi Owen & Mai,

    It’s been ages since I’ve had time to read your blog. So sorry you will be leaving the hotel industry. At the same time, I always thought you weren’t living the life of a retiree as you were probably working a lot more and stressed more than when you were working in Canada.

    So, we better visit you before you close for business! We are planning to go to Asia in Jan. or Feb. 2013. When is Tet, so we make sure not to come then? If we only had two weeks, what is the itinerary you would suggest? Would I be better off to use your travel agent or a travel agent in Manila, which will be our base to visit other places? I’d also like to include Luang Prabang, as I’ve read so much about it. We’ve been to Siem Riep, so no need to go there again. We really hope to make this happen as you are the main reason we want to visit Nha Trang.


  6. Dear Owen and Mai,
    Wished we’d found you when we first came to Nha Trang, but it is fortunate that we found your hotel and your hospitality just in time to be on the receiving end of your helpful visits and tasty food.
    Now we’ve been home in Wisconsin for a few weeks and just now looked at your blog. How sad that you might not be at the Tide Hotel when we return, which we hope to do in the near future. We appreciate all the tips you gave us on finding a rental when we return.
    Will you continue your blog? We’ll hope to keep in touch.
    With our thanks and all best wishes for whatever the future brings. With you two, we’re sure it will be great!
    Roger and Marian

  7. The Tide has to be the best hotel on the north side of Nha Trang. So well positioned, with the best beach at your doorstep. Not only that, but for sure the coldest beer on the strip from Nha Trang to Tuy Hoa!!! The staff are AWESOME and so friendly. They are well trained, speak good English and are trustworthy!! The Tide managed to become a sort of home from home in the shortest possible time and I can tell you having traveled extensively that it is very rare that this happens. Ah how I long for the evenings, just sitting on the sidewalk watching the intersection with San bring you the beers….. strange we tried in our street on return and wondered why we got such strange looks!! Finally Mai has to be one of the finest cooks in the area, we miss you very much Mai and your cooking and exuberance. You two will be sorely missed if you pack it in.

  8. We will make this work…….come hell or high water…..and yes…. high water will come….especially in Nha Trang.

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