Readers' Submissions

Greetings From Vietnam 8

  • Written by Grumpy
  • March 13th, 2008
  • 6 min read



A Tale from Irish Folklore

“Can you tell me the way to Limerick, kind Sir”.

Irish farmer, scratches his head, then “You can’t get there from ‘ere, it’d be a lot easier if you started from somewhere else”.

So it is in Vietnam. According to a growing number of backpackers, they get mauled & abused so much in Hanoi & the North in general that it’s much easier to start a Vietnamese tour from Saigon.

Retired, and a very contented resident of Dalat, in the Vietnamese mountains for four years now, may I present you with the Golden Triangle of Vietnam, Saigon, Dalat & Nha Trang.

HCMC

Dirty, polluted, hotter than hell, and overrun with motorbikes HCMC (Saigon is now a tourist suburb) is a powerhouse of a city, throbbing with vitality, energy & go go go.

In one of Korski’s more rational quotes “The American’s didn’t lose the Vietnam war. They won it and & won it big”.

Nicely put, for once.

It & it alone is dragging Vietnam out of poverty. I asked a prominent businessman if joining the World Trade Organization would help. He replied “Stability sure, but we can’t grow any faster. Every person & every company in HCMC is going flat out.” Sure feels like it.

Dalat

What can I say about my home town? Surely the world’s most beautiful city. Fresh air, a stunning central lake, flowers forests, glorious food, happy people. Six thousand university girls to flirt with. Beautiful architecture.

I’m not on the tourist circuit, and from traders who know me, I rarely get charged more than the locals, sometimes less in fact, “special customer” which horrifies some of my Vietnamese friends. I get the same treatment in the back street markets of Chiang Mai.

Are you listening Korski? Stay out of tourist areas!

There is no nightlife, no bars. At all. But I have a harem at a local massage parlour (in a luxury hotel, out of police reach). They take good care of me, giving me a thorough scrub down, Caesar style, in the shower both before and after the happy ending. But one girl has made a big pitch for monogamy. I’ve tried to hardball her time after time for a year but she still causes trouble when I take another girl. Grrr. Not sure of how to handle it.

New to the raunchy scene is my hairdresser, who pops round to my hotel for a freelance boom boom from time to time. Presumably she has bills to pay. Doesn’t speak a word of English but really gets into the action. Plumb tuckers me out to tell you the truth.

I’ve had less success with a surrogate wife (maid, personal assistant). No sex, even on my birthday. The first was highly intelligent, full of integrity & I became dependant on her. Then I cursed & swore at computer companies, internet service providers & satellite companies who tried to bull & cheat me. Off she went, anger is not permitted in Vietnam, a salutary lesson for yours truly. I miss her.

Number 2 is a sweetie but highly unreliable & not over endowed with intelligence.

The cogniscenti tell me that to manage a young oriental girl you must put a boot up their ass & keep it there.

Any ideas, Stickmanites?

Nha Trang

Is still, very much, the party town of Vietnam, called “naughty” by my female students. What, exactly, do you mean dear?

Getting buried now in 5 star hotels & glitzy shops, it's leaving Vietnam & fast becoming “Costa del Anywhere”. Sadly, the vibrant street food & drink vendors, whom I love so much, are disappearing at a rate of knots. But the Viets come here to party & boy do they enjoy themselves so there is still fun to be had.

Went on a boat trip this week and three stunning girls pampered me all day. Didn’t speak a word of English so I was forced to try my primitive Vietnamese. Now where else can us wrinklies get this kind of treatment?

Young backpackers tell me that in the discos, girls come right on up and “I’ll come to your room for $30”. I should be so lucky.

Ubuntu

Learnt a new word last year, Ubuntu, from Africa. Means we are not an island, if you are happy, I am happy, if you are sad, I am sad, if you are sick then I am sick.

The people in my golden triangle are a joyful, happy people so Vietnam is, for me, a joyful & happy place to be.

Money

Do you seriously want to be rich? Try selling Vietnamese furniture & apparel on e-bay in the west. Met guys making fortunes doing this. If were younger I’d take a pot at it myself.

Korski on Hoi An, Vietnam

Quote “These communist tyrannies that have so thoroughly robbed people of any sense of personal dignity? Made them shameless beggars, ugly–and this is not a strong enough word.”

Hot on the heels of that man Korski again, I this week had the chance to check his description of Hoi An, been wanting to visit the ancient city for some time & a Danish Pal has taken a lease on a restaurant so I sallied forth.

Leery of North Vietnamese unpleasantness, and to me, Hoi An is in the North, first up came an ugly confrontation with a Da Nang Taxi driver. My five Aussie companions gave him the address of their Hoi An hotel but the sob persistently refused to take them there, determined to get his hotel commission. I spotted my own and demanded he stop, threatening to take the keys out. Anxious to get rid of me, he complied then shot off taking these poor girls god knows where. A good start and a foretaste of things to come.

Too early in the morning to eat in restaurants I went to the market & was stunned to see prices ten times that of Dalat. Hoi An people are aggressive, unfriendly & polluted, not by communism, but by tourist money, lots of it. Only foreigners were in the restaurants, the locals had nowhere to eat. Buy this, buy that, thousands of street hawkers at you non stop. Give me money, money, money.

Now I’m no friend of communism, and yes Vietnam is buried in ridiculous and stifling red tape, but the government making beggars out of the people of Hoi An? Hogwash.

The 15 million vnd a year for 3 years plot of land mentioned in his article is chicken feed, heavily subsidized, designed to give her a shot. The real trouble is a nightmare six months of freezing cold, rainy weather. No income.

Korski’s friends bleatings couldn’t be a variant of “Sick water buffalo” could they?

When the sun re-appears she’ll be ok

Korski? why don’t you get off your opium and give us a real view of the world for once?

Chuc Mung Namoi (Happy New Year)

Grumpy

Stickman's thoughts:

Vietnam holds a certain fascination for much of the Stickman readership for only a small percentage of us have been and all of us are considering, even if in the very far back corner of our minds, other options to Thailand. It is however my opinion that you tarnished an interesting submission by attempting to spar with Korski, a battle that in this forum, I hate to say, you would appear to be hopelessly outgunned.