Monday, August 30, 2010

things that didn't make sense and now do

OK so there's lots of things. But here's a couple....

1) Completely un-padded chairs and beds.

My soft, white, sofa-pampered British ass took an unexpected beating when I first arrived in Vietnam. 
'WHY would anyone not have cushions on seats?' I thought.

'WHY would anyone choose to sleep on a solid surface if they don't have to?' I thought.

Especially when most Vietnamese have very little padding of their own.....

Well I totally understand now. 

It's so hot and sweaty that it would just be horrible and sticky to be cushioned into anything. Clothes have to be tolerated, but otherwise it's a case of minimising skin contact with anything. It's all about air flow. 
As to sleeping on solid beds/floors? Well I'm working on the padding (as if I needed an excuse to eat more Vietnamese food!), and luckily take after my father in never having much of a problem sleeping, well, anywhere! Naps ahoy....

 (As an aside, I'm sure that as well as being cool, the no-mattress thing is a pretty effective contraceptive in this two-baby country... )

2) Bottled drinking water.

Wow, I thought when I arrived. How very un-environmentally friendly. Everyone drinking bottled water. What a lot of plastic. What a lot of waste!

But on thinking it through.... what is more wasteful? Cleaning to drinking quality only the water you drink, or cleaning to drinking quality the water you drink, plus the water you wash your car with, wash your dog with, water your garden with, shower in, flush your loo with....

And although making lots of plastic bottles isn't ideal in any way, the system isn't as wasteful as it first seems. Sure some people buy lots of small bottles and throw them away, but that's generally tourists. In every Vietnamese house, shop, office, pagoda, every building in Vietnam, you'll find large blue 21-litre bottles of drinking water. Fresh bottles are delivered by nearby shops, who take the empty ones for re-filling. Each large refill costs around 30-40p (the same as a 1 litre bottle). So it really makes a lot of sense. And of course, drinking this water gives you POWER!!!....

These things makes me wonder what else I consider normal or sensible which is actually ridiculous?
And what am I seeing and living that is actually ridiculous but that's becoming normal in my mind?!>

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