February 25, 2009

Vietnam: Keep the Change

Last week my roommate Zach and I went to the park to meet some of our Vietnamese friends for coffee. I parked on the sidewalk next to the park and walked over to meet my friends. As I sat down they told me that it is illegal to park on the sidewalk here but everyone does it anyways. When the cops come to give tickets all hell breaks loose as people sprint to their motorbikes to hopefully drive away fast enough before getting fined. (Note: my friends didn't park on the sidewalk they parked in a parking lot). What are the chances that the cops come when I am at the park for the next hour? The clock ticked 5:00 and the cops came. As I heard a screech I hurried to put on my shoes, grab my helmet and started running with the rest of the Vietnamese, while my friends sat and laughed in amusement. The sidewalk was crazy, my heart was racing as I tried to drive around everyone and into the street before I was flagged down by the cops. I only hit one motorbike fender. Not bad. I parked my motorbike in a parking lot and walked back to the park to discuss the chaos that had just occurred. My heart was still racing as we talked and watched as some people were getting fined. They told me the parking fine was 70,000vnd. What! 4usd for all that. Man. I could have thrown them a 100,000vnd and told them to keep the change.

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