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A Friendly Face in Vietnam

I met this lady on the beach in Vietnam, her massage station was set up close to where we had settled for our couple of days on the beach. Her days are busy with plenty of tourists unable to resist a $3 massage on the beach, and as she works she flashes smiles our way and always shouts us greetings in the morning.

As the sun is setting on another busy day she comes over to our sun beds to chat as she winds down. Since the sun is setting she has removed her conical hat that she wears for most of the day and is just enjoying the peace of the evening.

We chat for a while and I tune into her accented English and in a handful of words she proudly tells us her story. She has been working on the beach for many years since her son was a baby, when she first started she made very little money and her son lingered with her while she tried to work.

Now, she says, “Money, no problem, no problem” waving one hand in the air, all the while her other hand is deftly and absentmindedly massaging my boyfriends foot and popping his toes with ease and comfort. As she beams and massages she tells us repeatedly with such pride that now her son is going to school and she owns not one but 2 motorcycles! One for her and one for her son. We cannot help but smile and become infected with her joy, I snapped this photo whilst thinking it was one of the nicest moments of the trip so far.

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The Honking Chain

After spending some time in Vietnam you come to realize that one thing is pretty inescapable, the constant honking of horns is everywhere. I feel though, that I may have figured out the honking etiquette, it seems to me like the food chain.

The large vehicles (buses and trucks) honk at everything smaller than them. Vans, mini buses and cars honk at the motorbikes, the motorbikes honk at each other and the bicycles. The bicycles get out of the way.

Pretty simple, although you should consider the following rules of the game too:
• Honk if you decide to drive on the wrong side of the road at a fast pace on a blind corner.
• Honk if you see an animal.
•Honk if you see an unattended motorcycle – better safe than sorry.

•Honk regularly. It’s for the best.
•Honk before overtaking anything.

• Find your own honking rhythm. Ten honks in quick succession is not unacceptable, especially if you are transporting a coach load of people through the night on a sleeper bus.

•Honk on a boat at Halong Bay – well why not?

Please feel free to add your own rules if I’ve missed any!

Courtesy of  Karen (through twitter):

•Honk at a temple! (mostly in Bali but I think it fits in Vietnam too) Thanks :)