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About talfarlow

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  1. I spent some time in Thailand but have lived in Vietnam for over 5 years. In general, Vietnamese have about a meters worth of interest around them. This applies to how they drive, stand in line, butt in line, yell when their are others around, look at foreigners and more. It is fair to say that Vietnamese are more clan based than any place I've seen. You'll see quite a few offices are staffed by cousins, wives, in-laws etc..it's an insular city in many ways. No one will mention it but that's what's going on. Most of the people in the alley near where I live are either related or connected in some way. Mostly they just think about their immediate family and maybe the clan in the alley. Despite the neon signs above, I think HCM remains a fairly "non-international" city despite 13 million + people in SE Asia. The tourist scene here is off and running but the infrastructure is a poor comparison to BKK. No metroline. One of the densest cities around with no city planning. The last statistic I saw on Vietnam was that it had very low return rates for tourists.
  2. Ah, my bad! got caught up in the Viet side of the reading.... Take care.
  3. Point well taken. People on this board often compare Vietnam with Thailand and I really get that, I would do the same. It's a mistake though as you point out. A negative comment on Facebook about the government and you're likely being scheduled for a conversation at your local police station as you put the final period on the comment. A lot of foreigners romanticize Vietnam or have a nostalgia about it. "F" with the government here and you can really have your ass kicked. You're more on the mark if you think of Vietnam as a small mirror of China (remember Vietnam is still very much a part of the Communist block here). ****disclaimer It's their business after all, not a criticism. Don't confuse Vietnam with the Thailand you remember from 1995 or something.
  4. Maybe I'm not understanding your point, but I think the typical tourist coming into Vietnam won't care much about a 90 or 30 restriction. People who work here legally won't care at all and doing it legally isn't really that expensive - you just have to be above board on it. And the Vietnamese government won't care what foreigners think. It's easy to forget that they've had the <deleted> kicked out them by the French, Americans and the Chinese. They'll take cash from anyone and yes, the brown envelope but I wouldn't confuse this with being a pro-foreigner position. As Vietnam develops I suspect they'll care less and less about a foreign presence let alone some older retired guys pretending to be in business. Just a guess though. It may end up being more and more like Thailand - big tour buses (mostly from China), orderly Koreans with their money in District 7 and clearly documented foreigners who will add some status to some English centers.
  5. I haven't heard this specific scheme but it is in no way surprising. I would put the fail rate on "relationships" or "marriages" here at 8 out of 10. Lots of guys here lose houses and savings accounts to one thing or another. I wouldn't be surprised to see local Vietnamese watching a new business and figuring it out only to pay off people to run you out of the district. When I came here I first thought the foreign guys were taking advantage of the local women......not anymore. Some of the guys might be a little off the mark but many of them are more naive than bad. I still like quite a few Vietnamese and yeah, you have to respect their toughness but it adds up to being the least trustworthy country I've lived in. Unfortunate because the women here may be some of the prettiest in SE Asia, hard working etc....it's just not an easy place IMHO.
  6. This point gets talked about frequently in the expat community. I know the tourist area fairly well and some other areas in the greater Ho Chi Minh area. The quote that gets mentioned often here is "One of the easiest places to start a business, one of the worst to keep a business". A lot of otherwise successful people have trouble maintaining a businesses s here. A frequent pattern is to see someone build a business and then start getting hit on for "coffee money", increased inspections, local commander of the cop shop etc...eventually the business has to move out or fold. There's tons of corruption and difficulties with staffing, supplying etc.. As gets mentioned and seems to be forgotten quickly, is there's no retirement visa. The previously easy-to-get yet dubious "business visa" is getting clamped down on in a serious way. It's a side note but one worth thinking about. Vietnam isn't excited about (exception noted for recent deals with Chinese interests) having lots of foreigners to come in and start being the movers and shakers. With their history of colonialism gone bad, they have in recent history only allowed a dozen or so foreigners some version of citizenship - mainly those who fought in the "war with America". Most of the people pushing the idea here have their own agenda for it or simply aren't aware of the history.
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