Hate and loathing in Hoi An

The purpose of this writing is mainly for venting the aggressions that builds up just by being among the Vietnamese. Traveling in Southeastern Asia is good fun and all, but there are certain situations where your tolerance is put to the test. We’ve now spent one day in the major city of Da Nang and are currently in Hoi An. For us Da Nang was a complete waste of time – big city, indifferent population, gray and dull and almost hostile to people who come to visit. Hoi An is a lot smaller and better, but the locals here are extremely annoying! It’s almost like they are deliberately trying to piss you off when they want you to look at the crap they’re selling or eat in their restaurant.

You feel like a pet animal when they’re clapping their hands, whistling or shouting barely recognizable English phrases at you to get your attention – and at that point you’re most definitely ignoring them completely or yelling something back at them. Their approach seems to annoy everybody and they just don’t seem to get it. If I’m hungry I’ll probably approach the restaurant myself (unless the establishment is invisible) instead of preferring to be addressed in a high pitched voice saying “Helloooo, come inside have a look, pleeeeeease!” When walking down an averagely touristy street here in Hoi An you’ll hear that more than 20 times – and, of course, declining every single offer just because you don’t want to be addressed like someones poodle. On a daily basis this behavior is enough to make your blood boil, resulting in a foul mood where you just want to kick down whoever is approaching you, and tell them in a psychotic voice what you really think of the way they’re marketing their shop or restaurant.

But the hardest part here is that everybody wants your money and you have to be on guard constantly! If you’re approached by someone and you think: “He seems like a nice helpful chap”, you’re wrong! Everybody has a hidden agenda to sell you shit or getting you to a “very nice” hotel room in some overpriced dump. And the morale seems to drop even further from here; everybody more of less tries to scam you by charging ridiculous prices and you will eventually fall in, hating them indefinitely for it. If the people of Vietnam had a national sport it would be called “scamming” and it’s just pissing visiting foreigners off leaving everybody with a bad impression.

The next annoyance in line is the English speaking skills in Vietnam in general. They suck at it and it’s irritating. On top of that the Asian politeness apparently dictates that if you do not understand a question fully – just answer with a “Yes!” This doesn’t work very damned well when the question is “What time do you close tonight?” or with more critical questions like when the bus is going to pick us up at our hotel. “Yes, yes!” Well thanks a million! The following transcript is of an actual “conversation” between myself and a guy at the reception in Nha Trang (in this case referred to as Retarded Receptionist Guy, RRG).

Me: “Hi, do you by any chance have a softer pillow as the one we have is rock hard?”

RRG: “Yes”.

Me: “Okay, great, can we have two, please?”

RRG: “Yes”.

Me: “Thank you, can we get them now?”

RRG: (Pauses for a while) “Yes” (looks like he’s not realizing that HE has to do something)

Me: “You know, PILLOW? For sleeping?”

RRG: “Yes, yes” (smiling politely, but still not doing anything)

Me: (Staring a the receptionist for a while) “…. Oookaaay, thank you, that was really useless” (walking away mumbling curses. Considering anger management courses)

Last, but not least, is the general ability to look a little bit ahead. Vietnam is a beautiful country with countless natural highlights but the locals just don’t seem to care and dumps trash in every street, alley and river. If they keep up the pace they’ll ruin their country within a decade for sure. And if that’s not enough they’re literally pissing anywhere they feel like it and that is kind of a weird sight for visitors as well. We even saw a street in Da Nang where several people had taken a dump! While we’re at bodily fluids let’s mention the spitting, snorting and harking. It’s repulsive and occurs everywhere in public. A large part of the population carries tuberculosis and I’m not sure the spitting will help them reduce the number of infected either. So far the locals just seem short sighted and narrow minded and generally annoyed. At least they smiled a lot more in Cambodia and Thailand. A rare sight around these parts!

There… feels slightly better now.

Pictures from Da Nang and Hoi An

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