Who can a person trust?

in memory or Kathy Musall (left) who passed away in a motorcycle accident last year leaving behind these wonderful adopted kids.

December has been a very bad month and I am hoping that Mai and I will prevail. We knew when we started the renovations on the house that there was going to be trouble, and we agreed to try not to let it get to us. It has been a difficult journey that is finally coming to an end. Mai is my anchor to this existence and without her I am nothing. We have had a few doozie fights during this process…… not because of her and I having a difference, but because of the incompetence or damned stupidity we have experienced. It seems impossible for me to just smile and take it. I get angry and then Mai gets angry in return. It sometimes ends in a tearful episode of “Why is this happening to us?”….. But Ah Ha!! We can see a light at the end of the tunnel, soooooo. What has happened since the last blog? A lot!! But here is a few of the more major issues.

The bathrooms on 2 levels were completed and looked wonderful when Mai asked where

Tea Plantation

id the light switch….. Egad!! I cannot believe it but they ran all the electrical but never allowed for a switch. Ok… no problem. Just remove a single wall tine and run the wire afterwards replace the tile. Simple right? WRONG!!  The electrical was done correctly but the tiles they bought were the wrong color, without asking or even noticing, the cemented the wrong one in. It looks absolutely awful and tomorrow they will again hammer the tile out and hopefully replace it with the same color. We have also been having issues with the painters similar to the blogs of 3 years ago that I am simply too tired to even talk about. But today I snapped…..


Even Mai understood and agreed with me. Our newly built bathrooms are simply beautiful finished rooms with no fixtures. In the past day or so, one or more people have urinated on the shower floor instead of using an upstairs toilet, or the drain in the garage. The result is an overpowering smell of urine that had Mai vomiting. I raged about how anybody could be stupid enough to piss all over unfinished construction and some of the workers were cowering at my anger, and perhaps rightly so. I have had a cleaner go in with bleach and scour the floors and walls, but still the urine smell is there. If the smell cannot be totally eliminated, I will force them to scrape every last bit of grout out of the bathroom and do it all over again. I simply cannot believe the absolute stupidity that happens here. I have other issues that I am tempted to rage on but back to the topic of this blog…… it has been a bad month so far. AAck!!! A rat just scurried by….. Robotic

Home sweet home

sensors taking over…. Kill.. Kill… Kill…..

Ok, I am back and the critter will soon be dealt with. Back to my bad December. Last night I had 2 local Vietnamese people check out a room for a stay. I was busy and my night receptionist dealt with them. As is our policy, he refused them because they could not supply 2 id’s in accordance with law. They returned later and provided id and my reception assigned them a room. I was busy with other guests so I did not really pay too much attention. They had no luggage, a police tag on the motorcycle, and even looked suspicious, but last night my night reception failed me…… (A common thing when having to rely on a Viet employee) I was busy and would have noticed right away something not

Having Fun

right but, for some reason the person I NEED to rely on did not…. Or was lazy, or just thought I was a stupid foreigner and all my warnings were discounted….. or whatever. During the night, these people checked all the doors and found 2 unlocked. From one they were able to steal a customer’s computer, and the second was my room where Mai woke up and chased them away but for some reason not being suspicious of their intentions (I would have been very aggressive had I woke up with my latest frustrations) The Viet couple checked out early morning and one of our guests that had forgotten to lock his door had his computer stolen. I and the customer wanted to call the police, but for some reason my night security did not register the two on computer, record the id’s or anything else that is standard practice even though they looked suspicious. In the end my customer thinks that my night reception is involved because of the non registered id required by the

Drying Rice Paper

Feds………… I cannot get the police involved because he neglected to do his job and they were unregistered, and I am now re-assessing whether or not I can have this person continuing working for me…… But wait!! That is not the end of it. My day receptionist for some reason went against past warnings and put a backpack on top of a person’s luggage that was waiting for a taxi to depart. Like any good host, I helped with luggage and accidently threw in a bag from another guest. My trusted driver delivered the customers to the airport and on arrival found the wrong bag. They gave it to my trusted driver and that should have been the end of it. 5 hours later the customer of the missing bag made it known. We thought that the departing customer had erred and awaited a response from their Hanoi Hotel. I was able to contact them and find that they told my driver it was not theirs. The most logical next step would have been to phone me or the hotel and ask about the extra bag, BUT NO!! This person that I trusted did not contact me or even

Slippery when wet

more disappointing, claimed not to remember. HUH!!!??? How could you not remember a bag not belonging to your customer? I now have the bag back with all intact but it seems that the memory lapse was a delay tactic to drive around and recover the goods that were already disposed of…… So Sad. I now have to decide if I can continue helping a Niece who I helped break out of poverty into a sustainable life.  Lastly…

I have a dispute going on with www.tripadvisor.com , or perhaps more accurately, some new people that work there.  (It seems that they have come to the conclusion that my blog is all about advertising (which you can all see it is not!!). I am tired of the bulls*it. At the moment I have ceased contributing to the site and am considering what to do. I am still trying to work this out, but it seems that the  people I have to deal with are not very helpful and responded in a manner I consider impolite… We will see .. At the moment I have ceased contributing or recommending to the site as I am reconsidering it as being a useful tool for travelers. They have blacklisted without warning, expats that gave solid advice and linked to their blogs or 3rd party information for concise answers to difficult questions. At this moment, a person might as well simply carry a Lonely Planet guide that is written from the perspective of a traveler asking questions rather from a local who actually understands the reality.

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

20 thoughts on “Who can a person trust?

  1. Sorry Ian…. I did not allow your comment as I do not allow promoting an individual on my blog. I am sure Your friend is a nice fellow. Even I try not to self promote on the blog and simply give advice or talk about the issue of the day.

  2. Hi Owee
    I’m going to be in Vietnam early March 2013 for 7-10 days. I will be travelling from Singapore but I will be alone as my husband has to get back to work (we live in Australia). Given I’ll be on my own, I think doing a tour is probably the best thing. Are you able to provide me with suggestions on who I should use? I’d like to see at least one ‘off the beaten track’ place and for the tour not to be too ‘touristy’.
    Any help you can provide is very much appreicated.
    Kind regards

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