Tuesday, November 16, 2010

General Impressions speaking

I don't like to generalize, but there are some things I noticed that I didn't mention earlier and perhaps some things that need clarification. Firstly, Jetstar. I really didn't enjoy the flight because I firmly believe an A320 is too small for a flight of that duration, particularly when the seat pitch is that narrow. It's totally fine for domestic flights of an hour or two, but unsuited to overwater international flights lasting 4 1/2 hours. I'm as much a fan of cheap flights as the next person but never again would I subject myself to a flight like that. Nor was I the only passenger expressing that opinion on board, surely this must be of concern to Jetstar management? When we booked the flight it was on a A330, but Jetstar subsequently swapped it to an A320 with an inch less seat pitch and non reclinable seats. Treating your customers like this turns them into non repeat customers, and I am pretty easy to please when it comes to airline flying. If I'm confident I will arrive in one piece then I view this as the ultimate deciding factor, Jetstars safety record is hard to fault.

Let's say you moved to Vietnam and decided you wanted to buy a second hand car. One thing you don't have to worry about is the condition of first gear because after observing to local driving style I think you can safely assume first gear has never been used. Despite the fact I never went faster than 50km/ h we spent 95% of that time in fifth gear, occasionally changing down to fourth when stuck in a traffic jam. One thing you should inspect very carefully is the horn which is used almost continually in a kind of honking language that is probably taught in driving schools. A honk can mean I'm here, or I'm overtaking or more frequently to pedestrians get out of my way because I'm not giving way to you. It was explained to me with a straight face that Vietnamese drivers always follow the rules except when they really don't want to. Red lights are generally complied with, unless the driver I'd in a hurry, driving on the correct side of the road is mostly complied with except when the driver thinks the wrong side might be quicker, so you frequently have four, five or six lanes of traffic going both ways alternately on a two way street. Crossing the street itself is an adventure, but so long as you cross confidently and above all predictably the traffic will move behind you. Except for taxis which make a point of aiming straight for you, but I'm pretty used to that in Sydney. I have heard of westerners living for weeks in Vietnam and never crossing a road once, but it's really not that big a deal. Almost everyone owns a motorbike and although the rule is no more than two people per motorbike, the rule doesn't apply to children and is overlooked if the rider has a really good excuse. The strange thing is that it all seems to work pretty well. I was shocked to learn that the annual road toll is in the order 11,000 killed in a country of 85 million. The road toll in Australia is about 500 per annum with a population a bit over 20 million. 4 times the population. 22 times the road toll.

Dog meat, and presumably cat meat, is available for sale in Vietnam. I'm not judging this, merely stating it as a fact. The choice of which animals we name Fido and which animals we serve with chips is largely arbitrary and determined by the cultural norms of the society in which you live. I'm sure there are millions of Muslims who would be disgusted by my love of bacon, plenty of Hindus unimpressed by the popularity of Hamburgers. The vast majority of the worlds population is revolted at the thought of eating Vegemite.


Post a Comment

<< Home