Old Town Hanoi Video

By: leelefever on August 5, 2006 - 3:39am

Here's another bit of video that we shot in the Old Town Hanoi. As with the others, we're just experimenting - be kind. :).

Hanoi was my favorite place in Vietnam and I hope the video captures some of the richness- and our exemplary pool playing.

Filed Under: | | | | |

Hanoi and Uncle Ho with Wanna and Vuth

By: leelefever on July 31, 2006 - 3:04am
Our friend Beth Kanter introduced to another Cambodian blogger who lives in Hanoi. His name is Wanna or Mr. X. Yesterday we met Wanna and his friend Vuth (also Cambodian) for a day of sightseeing, including Uncle Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum.
We're planning to do more video soon and this is practice...

Thanks a bunch for great time folks!

Vietnamese and the Real English

By: leelefever on July 28, 2006 - 7:44pm

Like nearly traveler, we struggle with language – and sometimes even English.  Case in point:  Before coming to Vietnam we picked up a Vietnamese phrasebook in a book exchange and began learning some of the basics.  The first thing I noticed was a stark difference in the one Vietnamese word I knew: “Pho”.  Pho is a food- a noodle and meat soup that is served all over Seattle, where you learn quickly that it is pronounced “fuh”, as in fun. 

Upon consulting the phrasebook, we found a very different version of the word about which we felt so confident.  The book said it should be pronounced “fur”, which to us sounded like the hair on an animal. “Fur” did not sound Vietnamese at all.  The same was true with the word for thank you – the book said it is pronounced "ga’am ern".  Again, that “r” sound did not sound right.

Then the light went on in our head.  The phrasebook’s pronunciation was based on British English – the real English and not our American version.  “Fur” was not fur at all, but a much more sophisticated sounding “fuh”, where the “r” is dropped.  I could suddenly imagine a British person holding a cup of tea with their pinky finger held out and saying “I would nevah weah a fuh coat- that’s simply cruel!”  …and it all became very clear.

And in the end, we must recognize that we hold our version of English very dear and we Americans have to realize that our English is not the only, or even the real version of the language.  There is a reason it is called “English”.

Filed Under: | | | | |

Anatomy of a Scam in Vietnam

By: leelefever on July 27, 2006 - 8:22am

It’s been said many times- be clear with a Vietnamese cab driver about your hotel, or they will take you to their friend’s hotel, where they will earn a commission. We’ve seen many attempts at such diversions, but none so blatant as we experienced today, just after arriving in Hanoi.

We took a cab from the airport into town (37km for US$10). On the way, we told the driver to go to the “Camellia 3” Hotel and showed him where it was on the map. He agreed and the agreement was settled. Along the way he had a number of phone calls, which rang in a ring tone with the volume on 11. We understood nothing he said.

Upon arriving in the Old City of Hanoi, a young Vietnamese guy walked over to the car, opened my door, stuck his head into the car about 3 inches from my face and said “Welcome to the Camellia 3 Hotel!” I struggled to look around him at the building and the awning and did not see anything about the Camellia, or any hotel for that matter. No matter what we asked, he continued to insist, quite rudely “Yes, this is the place, the Camellia 3 Hotel, let me get your bags.” All I could say was, “First, please back up and let me get out of the car.” I left Sachi in the car and stepped into what was supposed to be the Camellia 3 Hotel. I walked to the reception desk and said “I’d like a business card please, where is your business card?” Their answer: “We ran out”. This, of course was a lie and there was no longer any doubt what was happening. This was not the Camellia 3 Hotel.

The cab driver must have thought we were complete idiots. He actually thought that he could drop us off at some random hotel and we would believe, thanks to the not-so-skillful scamming of his not-so-sly cronies, that we had arrived at our requested destination and would blindly get a room, earning him a commission.

We’ve met a lot of nice people in Vietnam, but it is the prevalence of this kind of bullshit that will forever leave a bad taste in my mouth. We said to him what we say to all people who try to pull such stunts. “You are bad for tourists – you keep doing this, tourists will stop coming.” He only smiled with a “you can’t win’em all” attitude and went off to give another tourist a good reason not to come back to Vietnam.

Syndicate content