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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Myth Busted?

Well, maybe not.  I can tell you a fine example of Vietnamese honesty though.  Some times this city gets a bum wrap, and sometimes rightfully so.  In the interest of not opening up a can of worms, there are some people here who will rip you off blind.  Why?  Because you can afford it and usually they can't.  This tends to get a little frustrating when you live here as, well, you live here, and you should pay what the locals pay.  Yes, this is a pipe dream.  It is never going to happen in my lifetime or yours.  Having said all that, not everyone is out to fleece you.  Quite often I find that as I am traipsing around a market I am not hassled anywhere near as much as some due to the fact I am usually in work clothes and carrying my helmet.  It is fairly obvious I live here.  Today I was hunting around Ben Tanh for some Bok Choy.  As I could not find it I assumed it was out of season or something.  My eyes lit up when I finally found some.  I asked her in Vietnamese how much and in my excitement thought she said 50,000 VND ($2.50).  Expensive for here but not excessive I thought.  So as I rummage through my purse pulling out notes she is looking at me shaking her head.  As I thrust 50,000VND into her hands she gives me my bok choy and points to my purse shaking her head.  I thought she wanted more money.  Instead she is motioning me to show me what money I have in my purse.  She reaches over and takes out 5,000 dong as she is shoving the 50,000 back at me.  5,000 dong!  25 cents!  That woman, much to my shame, could have relieved me of an extra 45,000 dong and I would be none the wiser.  Needless to say I will be buying all of my greens from her in the future. So next time I feel like I am being over charged, and quite possibly am, I will remember with a smile that not everyone in this city wants to liberate me from my dong.  No matter where you come from, some people have good hearts, and some don't.


  1. Sometimes it seems to me that the people that can least afford to be generous are often the most least in my experience. I've often tried to give a small tip at some of the small food carts when buying a meal, and would absolutely be refused. I worry more about being scammed when I purchase high priced items.

  2. Ahhh, very true! It's so hard not knowing how much something is worth.

  3. Dani, that story was so nice. I was worried you were going to pay more for your Bok Choy than it costs in Australia. My hubby handed over a AU$100 note by mistake one time in VN and the waiter nearly fainted...but handed it back straight away :)

  4. Dani, what a nice experience. I was worried you were going to pay more for your Bok Choy than it costs in Australia! My other half handed over AU$100 by mistake once, in VN...the waiter nearly fainted, but handed it back straight away:)


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