Sunday, October 12, 2008

Photos With Commentary

Before I start my photo commentary, I had another no shit epiphany.

Things are cheap because nothing is maintained.

I realized this today at the pool. I went to the person in charge of lockers and asked for the toilet.
"They're broken." She said robotically. Of course they are. The "lockeroom" was basically a tiled room with a giant hose. I can't describe it correctly, because it's so disgusting and under developed. I'm thankful the ground wasn't dirt and there's some distinctiong between the women's and the men's section.

I examined the flags above the pool: tattered. I looked at the rails: rusted. As I was swimming I saw what I hoped was algae floating next to me. From a far the facility looked nice, but nothing was updated since.. never. Everything was it's original.

I find this to be common in Vietnam. You pay so little because everything is so old. And people have a mindset- if it still works, why spend money to fix it?

We invest a lot in "developed countries" to keep things nice and new. When it's old, we throw it out. But as every dime counts, you can't really do that here. You begin to realize how much different things have different value in different places.

A contrast from the swimming pool:

Vietnam has a Costco, except it's a German company called a Metro.
Same idea. In fact, it was exactly the same. The subtle difference is in it's customers. I began to observe the Modern trade retailer for my work research and there are interesting things to note.

The type of people who go have money. Either they go once a month OR they are a business owner- for resale or functionality. The HOT item is toilet paper. I spoted at least 25 white people during my 1.5 hour stay. I think because it's comforting to them? Many of them are long term Vietnam inhabitants.

Interesting things:
You fill your cart. When you pay for your money, there is no rolling table. They put your items in another cart. Then when you leave, they check your receipt (YES! Like costco!) but instead of a haphazard glance and a highlighter mark, they take out all of your items one by one and put them in a NEW cart! That's right!

I was bitching and money about the insanity and the girl checking the goods got annoyed. "Well you're in Vietnam, and this is how it's done." Maybe I shouldn't act so pretentious around the locals who are thankful they even have a Metro.

You know the CRANES. When they back up they make ugly sounds. "ANNNK,, ANNNK!! ANNNK!!" To warn unsuspecting customers of their danger? In Vietnam, they play Midi file melodies like, the ABC song. To me, this would attract children to danger... oh.. there I go being pretentious again.

But this made me happy:

Yes... 10 dollars a bottle. I was very tempted. But I figured, I fucked around enough and I really haven't made good friends to really drink with. Just my cousins and they're not too big on the idea.

Outside of the metro was a street full of shacks next to a stagnant polluted creek.

The best food is on the street

This was the best broken rice (Com Tam) I've ever had. People stick little food places where ever they can. This is in front of a school after it's closed. It's so popular!

We feed 7 people for $10.

Because the owners don't have to pay for rent, or airconditioning or any of that EXCESS stuff that developed nations take so much pride in.

See that pink container thing? That holds toliet paper and tooth picks. There are NO Napkins in Vietnam. Only toilet paper and wet towellettes that you have pay for.

This is my cousin's half sister. We share no blood. She epitomizes everything I hate about loud spoiled Vietnamese children. I call her a Monster Child.

She grunts, rolls her eyes and is a little miss know it all. But somehow she swims an amazing freestyle, breastroke and butterfly.

I hate her so much.

I found a "Holliter," for lawsuit issues, they dropped the "s." I bought a nice $10 (I know! fancy) polo that everyone including my cousin thinks is ugly. Even in Vietnam, I have no sense of fashion.

They're so pushy in the stores. "You only bought one!" Ugh.. Thank you captin obvious.
But I've noticed that they follow you less and less.

For Joe.

Joe is convinced that ALL asians have small penises.
Well Joe, we also have tasty bite-sized bananas.

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