I’ve realized one thing about my travels: I tend to emphasize the negatives (rant) and less so the positives (rave). People then conclude that I’ve had a terrible time, which is not true. I think it’s just easy to get stuck on some negatives and talk about it. Like when I went to Morroco, I was so stuck in explaining how annoyed I was by men ogling that people thought I had a terrible time; in fact, Morocco is a beautiful and colourful country. Where men happen to ogle women!
So while I was thinking of ranting about a certain aspect of Vietnam, I decided that every time I rant about something, I’d also have to rave about something else. And it wasn’t that hard to find something!
Rant: Lack of line
I’ve commented about this when I wrote about our crazy visit to the Perfume Pagoda. However, I’ve found, to my annoyance, how common it is for people NOT to respect a line, when waiting in line. I actually first observed this when we flew to Danang and someone went in from of my uncle. He was so angry and swearing up a storm; meanwhile, I thought it was pretty funny at the time since it wasn’t happening to me. At a recent visit to the convenience store, The Boyfriend was waiting in line to pay for cookies and a young man goes in front of the three people waiting in line and drops his food at the counter to pay. Just like that. Doesn’t even pretend there’s anything wrong with it. The problem is that I’m not relaxed enough to NOT let things like that get to me, but I’m not aggressive enough either to make a big scene. I just give the evil eye, which really doesn’t seem to faze anyone.
Rave: Helpful people
As we were looking for an English newspaper, I was explaining to the man with the newspaper stall that we were looking for an apartment. He didn’t have an English newspaper but suggested I come back the next day and he’d ask around for us. As well, as were looking for grooming scissors (The Boyfriend got his confiscated at the airport), the women at the beauty salon were also quite helpful, amidst their amusement at my poor Vietnamese.
Finally, while we were looking for an adaptor for The Boyfriend’s laptop at this big electronic store, one employee finally find us one and says it’s about a dollar. When I asked him to pay, he looked in confusion. It wasn’t for sale. He told me to go look at an electric store. Where do I find one?, I ask. Just take it, he gives up. That was nice of him. Then, when we went to wait in line to pay for a memory stick we were buying, that’s right, people kept going in front of us. By now, I’m not that annoyed, more amused. Is this just a cultural practice rather than rudeness? Should I just accept it and be patient? Or should I just jump the line the next time? When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right?