"One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies, and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies."
(C. A. R. Hoare)
I wonder which end of the continuum Bill Gates subscribes to.
Monday, 30 August 2010
It is therefore no surprise that our mini-bus driver from our hotel, in the 7th arrondissement, to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport was Vietnamese. He was an oily individual, reminiscent of Ugatti in 'Casablanca'. He had been pre-booked for us by the charming receptionist at our hotel. We clearly stated that we had a party of 3 adults and 2 children of 3 and 8 years old. The receptionist said the 3 year old could travel free and I heard him confirming this with the transport company on the phone. On arrival 'uncle Ho' started complaining that there were 5 people, but we had only booked 4 seats. I told him (in French for the removal of doubt) that it was not our problem and that he should speak to the hotel. He was so disconsolate about not getting any extra from me that he drove away from the hotel without shutting the rear door of the mini-bus. He kept grumbling about losing 12 Euros for the seat. He then picked up 3 more passengers (A Belgian husband and wife plus teenage son) from another hotel and off we set for the airport, with 2 seats still spare. After a few kilometres he had thought of another way to cheat us. He tried to extract 2 Euros per head from his passengers, which he said was payable to the airport authority to enter the terminal area and drop people off. Both the Belgian man and myself told him in French that he could forget it and I was impolite in Vietnamese to him. He then resigned himself to finishing the journey and we heard no more from him. Needless to say, he got no tip from either party.
I would like to think that this was a one off but I fear it was not. Has anyone else had similar experience with Vietnamese people?
Saturday, 21 August 2010
The main annoyance was the extortionate rate of exchange and commission charge to rub salt into the wound. I had to laugh when I saw a poster inviting me to change back my costly Euros to Sterling. No thanks, I'll be keeping them in a shoebox until next time. What about the lost interest? I hear you cry. Not worth bothering about these days, but that's another story.