Werewolves of Saigon

April 18, 2006

11:37' 17/04/2006 (GMT+7)

Soạn: AM 753533 gửi đến 996 để nhận ảnh này
Motorbikes for lease.

VietNamNet – In HCM City a man must look the part, and hiring sharp threads and a phat ride works to dupe materialistic girls into thinking you’re successful.


On the busy streets of the southern metropolis, the nuevo riche mince about their way, and being materialistic, all that is stylish and expensive is as good as gold. Yet, many of these well-to-dos are little more than fraudsters, wolves in sheep’s clothing if you will.


K D, a lass of District 5, HCM City, lost US$5,000 and her heart to a wolf she spied drinking a pina colada; his hair was perfect. She then met the man again in daylight hours in Tan Binh District, where he appeared a ne’er do well, helping his wife sell coffee on the pavement.


Meanwhile downtown, T whips out a card, sharp as a tack, and says he is a go-between for real estate traders. He looks sharp in his suit, street-wise and loaded; a gentleman with expensive clothing. His brand-name shoes matching his mobile phone, T basks in the respect of passers-by.


After few beers T reveals that his appearance is a total farce. In reality, he works in marketing at an advertising company where he pulls down a salary of just VND1,2mil (US$72) per month. He admits that the look of a million bucks, all you have to do is rent it. He says by hiring expensive clothes and a mobile phone, he appears more trustworthy.


T is a regular customer of rental shops in HCM City, where he is “trustworthy” enough that the shop owner lets him take out top notch clothing and motorbikes guaranteed only by his identity card.


“New customers have to put up a family-register, or a land-using-right certificate, or a passport. But I’ve been a customer for a long time here now.” T says, rolling off bills from a practically non-existent roll to hire two motorbikes, a Dylan and @, for four hours apiece. Cost for the wheels: VND150,000 (US$9,3). Currency with chicks: priceless.


T and his friends then peel their phat rides to a fashion store on Dien Bien Phu Street, where they kit out for the evening. Cost for the fly threads: VND80,000 (US$0,5). Tender with the ladies: priceless.


T says other rental shops will dress a man cheaper, but he doesn’t like to scrimp when it comes to faking style. The most important, T says, is of course the gold bling, which he rents at Ba Chieu Market. Cost to dazzle with a diamond grill: VND80,000 per day. Credit with the bedazzled honeys: priceless.


To round it off, T graces Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, where he hires a mobile phone. Cost to keep it real-time with your peeps: VND70,000-90,000(US$0,4 -0,55) for a Nokia N70/day; a Samsung: VND10,000 – 30,000 (US$0,2 – 0,45) ; and VND5,000 – 30,000 for a Sony Ericsson. Word from the babes: priceless


All decked out like this, damn, a man just needs somewhere to go, know what I’m sayin? Somewhere to get in the wolf, and more importantly, someone to make the investment worth the effort. In the city centre, the wolf sniffs around a District 1 bar. The ladies are on standby waving just to say hi. Did he stop? No, T just roamed by.


“I know where they hired those skanky clothes,” T says, totally cool. He spies two women at another table, and slides right on over to them. A quick drink later, T returns with a girl on each arm, “We’re going for a night cap,” T growls mischievously. It’s nearly 11pm, T and the two women slide into a taxi, leaving one slightly incredulous hack hanging around on the pavement.


B, another young man who likes to get in the wolf, says he has pulled wool over many a girl’s eyes. “This one chick,” he said, “she was the chief of some trade bureau thing at a hotel. She in love with me and lavished me with love and money. It was sweet until she figured out I was in the wolf.”

Vietnamese trademarks win wide national recognition
   03/21/2006 — 19:56(GMT+7)

Ha Noi  (VNA) – Vietnamese trademarks account for 50 percent of the 500 most famous trademarks that are circulated in the country, according to a market survey published on March 21.

The survey, jointly conducted by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Life Media Company and the market research company ACNeilsen Viet Nam, showed that real estate, fashion and non-electrically durable consumer goods are the most famous industries among 10 large sectors.

The research was conducted in Viet Nam by interviewing 3,000 people, aged from 15 to 60, on 1,000 trademarks belonging to 10 large sectors.

The organising board is scheduled to announce the “Vision 2006” prize on April 5 at the Ha Noi Opera House. -Enditem

48 hours in Ho Chi Minh City

COLOURFUL, vibrant and rich in colonial history, Ho Chi Minh City keeps you interested.

1. TOUCHDOWN The airport is about a 6km drive from the city. However, in peak hour this can mean a 45-minute journey. There are an amazing three million motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon, as the locals still call it) and on the way from the airport to your hotel you will feel that you have seen and heard every one of them.

It’s an amazing sight from your taxi or minibus. Everything seems to travel by motorbike – from a family of five to pigs on their way to market. Don’t be surprised to see girls sending text messages while they ride. Oh, and be warned, traffic lights are basically there for decoration.


Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon is a centrally located hotel overlooking the Saigon River (check out the views from the Club Lounge on the 18th floor). It’s elegant and nothing is too hard for the staff. This is top-quality accommodation so if you have been backpacking and want to indulge, this is your perfect hotel. The hotel is at 8-15 Ton Duc Thang St, District 1. Visit http://www.renaissancehotels.com/sgnbr

Taxis are a cheap way to travel but make sure it’s always in a marked taxi with a meter. Or you can travel by cyclo, the traditional bicycle form of transport. Always negotiate your rate and currency before getting on.


If you want to feel like a local, you must try Vietnam’s favourite breakfast pho, pronounced “fur”, which is a noodle soup served with chicken or beef. It may sound a bit strange having soup for breakfast but it is surprisingly refreshing and is a favourite meal among travellers. There are clusters of good pho restaurants along Nguyen Hue St, District 1. Try Pho Hoa at 260 Pasteur St, which is very popular with locals.


If you really want to get a feel for Ho Chi Minh City, the best thing to do is get out there among the locals and soak up this vibrant city that appears to never sleep. Ho Chi Minh City has some of the most beautiful architecture, so head down Dong Khoi St from Saigon River to the Notre Dame Cathedral and take a look at the historic French colonial buildings that line the street. Make sure you don’t miss the Majestic and Continental hotels, the theatre, cathedral and post office.

Apart from the architecture, the street is famous for other reasons. In the 1950s, it featured in the novel The Quiet American, but by the 1960s it was known for its infamous bars visited by U.S. soldiers. In more recent times, it appeared in the movie adaptation of The Quiet American, which starred Michael Caine.


Don’t be surprised if you see a bridal party taking advantage of Notre Dame Cathedral. Its red-brick, neo-Romanesque form and two 40m-high square towers tipped with iron spires dominate the skyline. The main cathedral was built by the French between 1877 and 1883, and is a favourite location for Vietnamese wedding pictures.


Once known as the Museum of Chinese and American War Crimes, tourists should be warned some of the exhibits at the War Remnants Museum are extremely confronting and visitors will find the historical perspectives controversial.

There are photographs, U.S. armoured vehicles, artillery, bombs and weapons.


If you like finding a bargain or a trinket from your travels, Antique St is a great place to visit. From cute green tea sets to amazing paintings, this street has a great selection of oriental knick-knacks. But be savvy. You don’t want to end up buying a copy for the price of an original. Note: some antiques are not allowed to be exported so check with your tour guide before buying.


Once the Presidential Palace, the Reunification Hall was home to the last three presidents of South Vietnam. The palace became famous when film footage of communist tanks crashing through the gates on April 30, 1975, symbolised the end of the Vietnam War. It is now a museum.


Visiting the Ben Thanh market is an experience in itself. The trick is to stay out of the way, stand back and soak up the frenetic pace of market life. Be warned: there is no time for pleasantries here so try not to get in the way of the busy workers or you could be shoved out of the way. The market has all kinds of local produce and souvenirs. Make sure you hang on to your wallet tightly.


Travel Indochina offers a four-night package to Ho Chi Minh City, including international airfare with Vietnam Airlines, all Australian taxes and charges, accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City, breakfast daily and arrival transfer, for $1194 a person, twin-share, ex-Adelaide. The tour is valid from now until March 31, and April 24 to June 14. Conditions apply. Call Travel Indochina on 1300 367 666.

Cathay Pacific flies to Ho Chi Minh City via Hong Kong from $952 plus taxes. See your local Flight Centre for details.

  • The author travelled to Vietnam as a guest of Travel Indochina. Additional information from Lonely Planet and Travel Indochina.