Date: Thursday & Friday, January 7 & 8, 2010
Travel: Rental Van
Party: Vu & Family
Lodging: Duy Tan Hotel
Photos: 20100107 Thanh Tan Spa, 20100108 Hue Farewell
After the long days so far, it would nice to be lazy for once. And why not, a lot of the workers around were pretty lazy. We went to a shopping mart a couple of times, and it was interesting to see the work ethic around. One time entering a cafe, it looked fairly empty with a few tables with people just lounging around. As we sit down and wait for some time, some of those people lounging around get up and come to our table and wait for us, and the rest huddle around the counter. I guess they were just all workers. I was thinking that there are a lot of workers just for an empty cafe, probably around 8 or 9 people. And the worse part, is that the service was lousy, and we had to keep calling the server over to request for things which they had forgotten in our order. So not only are they are overstaffed, they didn't do much. This seems to be the work culture in the marts and malls, which I suppose are corporately owned.
Another odd thing entering these marts or super markets, is that you can not take a bag into the store. I felt like I was 11 again, and I had to drop my backpack down to the ground before I enter my local Circle K convenient store after school. But not only do you have to check in any bags at the security desk, you would have to do this at every level of the mart. So you could have bought something on the 1st floor which is all bagged for you, and then you have to check in these goods if you enter the 2nd level. You can take a purse in under one condition, it has to be securely bagged in plastic and machine press closed. What if you left your money inside the bagged purse and wanted to buy something? Well you better leave the store first, open up the bag, take money from your purse, and then go back to security to re-seal the plastic bag. I guess theft is a real big issue there, so that's why it has to be done. I remember one time during closing time, there was a ton of women walking out of a mall, down the stairs, and there were security guards forcefully trying to check their bags. It was a huge ruckus, as most of the women were just trying to exit, and pushing each other to get out, and trying to avoid the guards.
In some stores however, it seems like it would have been really easy to take anything, as convenient store clerks would actually just sleep on the job. I remember walking by a small convenient store, and there were 3 clerks there (which is 2 too many) and they were all sleeping. After all of that, half the people seem to take really long lunches and the cafes seem so busy. It seems to be a pretty laid back working class.
We could have used a little laziness ourselves, as the family takes us for a nice afternoon at a hot spring spa, at Thanh Tan. You can start your way at the bottom of the spa, where the water is the mildest, and move towards the natural spring, where it gets to as warm as 60 degrees celsius. The spa is also like a water park, but all with warm spring water. After soaking up the warm water and beautiful scenery, we enjoy a massage. The nice part about all of this is that we were able to provide all the amenities to the entire family of almost 20 for less than the price of a 1 hour massage here.
Later that evening I break away with my cousin, Chau, which I did every evening and would just ride around in his moped at night, hanging out at the many cafes. That night we also stop by the university, to watch a performance in which Chau's "friend" was performing in. Performance ranged from traditional folk music, to viet pop and bands rocking it out. It's nice to be hang out with Chau, as he knows all the things going on, and can take me anywhere.
The following day would be our final day in Hue, and it was well spent time with the family. As my brother and I have never been out to the North, we take a couple of our cousins, including Chau since he knows everything in Vietnam. We fly out to Hanoi that evening, to start a tour out there.