The theme letter for our travel pics the last two weeks has been V, for Vietnam.
Our final image comes from Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon – and its of my shadow as I took a Xich Lo (or Cyclo) ride around HCMC
Cyclo rides are a great way to see the city – and are quite inexpensive, as well as fun.
But if you are doing it on your own, rather than in a group, there are some lessons to be learned.
I took a cyclo ride in Ho Chi Minh city when we visited Vietnam ion Jan ’16.
The Cyclo rider said he wanted VND500,000 (about $US22) for a half hour ride. I told him that was ridiculous, and offered him VND200,000 (about $US8) – a fair rate, I thought, at $US16 an hour.
We haggled, and ended up at VND350,000 – that’s $US15, and an excellent rate of pay in Vietnam for a half hour’s work.
Except that after we set off (and when I convinced him that I didn’t want to go somewhere for a ‘special massage – I just wanted to take pictures) he then kept going, and going, and going.
Like the Energiser bunny.
We saw an awful lot of Saigon / HCMC, before I eventually said “Look, I have to head back to my hotel: my wife is waiting”.
So he took me back. Sort of. We actually stopped around 100 metres away from the hotel, where he said he’s been pedalling for two hours – so I owed him 1,400,000, or $US60.
I just laughed, and said “I only asked for a 30 minute ride”. He said “maybe, but I pedalled you around for two hours, and now I am tired!”
“That’s not my fault,” I responded .. “It was your choice.”
“But I am tired,” he said again -“And I want a beer!”
In the end, I gave him VND500,000 – or about $US22 – and another VND20,000 for a can of beer. Because he HAD been pedalling me around for two hours. And $US25 is pretty good for two hours work in Vietnam.
But I wonder how many tourists would have paid the asked price of $60 – or who would have stuck by the original $15, no matter what?
What’s the phrase – Caveat Emptor?