General thoughts pg. 3
Topic today: Random things I've discovered.
1. Pets. Although I'm told that this is changing as the "younger generation begins to adopt western ways"...Vietnamese do not have pets. They own animals for the service they provide. Therefore, they do not give their animals a name. I found this worthy of an inquiry...the response I received was: "Why would we name our animals (notice the word "pets" was not used)? We have animals to help us." I did not follow this up for the purpose of clarification, because I assumed it meant that the only reason you would get a dog would be to provide another level of security to protect your home, business, or possessions. You would own a cat...well, I guess upon reflection, I should have asked the owner of the cat to tell me the cat's service purpose? Note to Cindy...I guess if you were Vietnamese, your cat, Doug, would be ??.. well, he would just be... I did, however, think to ask the owner of the cat (who btw was wearing a collar with a tiny bell - the cat, not the owner - lol) how the cat was called to come. The reply: "I sometimes call "meow, meow" because that is the sound cats make.". At a later date, during a different conversation with a new Vietnamese friend, when I mentioned the "no name" practice, she agreed. You should have seen the look on her face, however, when I said: "In America, the vast majority of people who have animals consider them to be a family member and would think nothing of spending a thousand dollars or more if their pet needed an operation.". I can't really describe the look, and do it justice, but it reminded me of the look you might give me if I said to you: "I had another chat with the Cheshire Cat last night and he and I and Alice would like you to join us for tea next Tuesday at two o'clock." Well...maybe me saying that to you isn't the best example I could give?...
2. Manners. The Vietnamese always accept my charge card with two hands and a slight bow and return it to me in the same manner. Also, anytime any object is passed to me, it is with two hands...always palms up. I have adopted the gesture and find that when I present my card with two hands I feel more humble and less arrogant. I am learning many things about myself.
3. Cars. I was told by more than one person that the price of a car in Hanoi is two times the price on the sticker! So a $25K USD car would cost $50K USD! Yowser... Oh, and that license plate fee we pay so we can drive our car ($50 - $100 a year)? Try 2,331,594 VND ($100 USD) per month!! I wonder if the people at the DMV in Ha Noi have the same "I hate my job" look that they do in the US? Anyone?
4. Showers. In Vietnamese homes, the bathroom and the shower are the same room, but, no tubs, no shower curtains, now shower stall. Bathroom walls are covered in tiles and a handheld shower head (with that funky metal connecting hose) hangs on one wall opposite the wooden door. You turn on the water, wash as normal (or you may use the wet, lather, rinse method where you turn on the shower, get wet...shut off the shower...lather up...turn on the shower and rinse). Either way, once you are finished, the water runs down a drain in the corner of the room and that's that. No need to wipe down the walls or floor or anything, it's all about air drying. I gotta say...it took a little getting use to.
Topic today: Bleah. I've been off the grid with a head cold the past four days and hope to be feeling back to normal by Monday. Stay tuned...