I write a lot about the positive aspects of life in paradise. It’s true, life is amazing out here! However, I don’t want to over do it and give you a completely romanticized view of life in Asia.
Today I want to give you a quick tip about surviving and thriving in south east Asia. Here’s the number one thing you need…
Things work a bit different around here. I don’t know where you are from, but I’m from America. In America, we expect efficiency. No, we DEMAND IT!
If some waitress is slurping a bowl of noodles while she’s surfing facebook on her smartphone and ignoring customers she would get fired so quick.
Also, in the service industry many people make a shitty low salary and depend solely on tips. Good customer service means better tips. So basically your attitude and work ethic directly effects your income. There’s an incentive to pay attention and work hard for your customers.
Not in Asia… Many restaurants are small mom and pop places where the owner will hire their daughter, cousin and neighbors kid to work there for dirt cheap wages. Often these kids have no experience working in a restaurant.
Hey that’s fine with me. Kids need to start somewhere and I respect the fact that they are working rather then running around in the streets. The downside is, this often means horrible service.
One of my favorite places to eat noodles is a little shop in Saigon. I often have to wake the staff up from their afternoon nap…
I do admire how Asians have the ability to lay down and fall asleep anywhere. Whether it be on a concrete floor or curled up on the seat of a motorbike next to a busy intersection with traffic whizzing by. All while wearing a hoody, sweat pants and face mask in 100 degree heat.
How do they do it? I need to strip down to my underwear, crank the AC and double lock my doors and windows so I can relax enough to get some rest.
Anyways, I walk into this shop and wake up the staff. They proceed to glare at me as if I just kicked their puppy… What the fuck I’m here to give you money and quietly eat a bowl of noodles… I’m not even going to shout, spit and throw my trash all over the floor like the locals. Would it kill you to smile and say hello?
A lot of places actually close down mid day so people can take a nap. That’s just the culture here. My gym is closed 11-2 so the staff can lay on the floor and sleep for a few hours.
The people at my apartment are always laying around sleeping in the afternoon too. Even security… You have to work around this.
Ever been robbed before? I was never robbed in 28 years growing up in America. Since moving to Asia I’ve been robbed, burglarized, scammed and over charged many times. That’s just a part of life here.
Also, a lot of times shit doesn’t work… Recently the internet in Vietnam did not work for three days. THREE DAYS!!! There’s always some bullshit going on here with the unground cable being eaten by sharks and downtime for maintenance.
I work online so this shit had me stressed out. I was spending cash topping up my phone and using 3G for basic email, text and surfing but I couldn’t do any real work… Oh well, I just had to relax and do something else. Freaking out isn’t going to magically give me a WIFI signal.
You need to be patient… Read a book, go for a run, get completely hammered at noon and get a soapy massage. Keep your plans flexible.
I understand that this is a developing country… Slow speeds and limited service in rural areas is to be expected. But for a major city to have no internet access for several days in a row is just crazy. According to a recent report, Vietnam has the worst internet speeds in Asia, second only to India.
Some nights the power cuts out… I realize this when I wake up sweating bullets in my soaking wet bed with no fan, AC or lights. Hey it’s just part of life out here. If you can’t handle that then you should most definitely stay in the western world.
OK I’m not here to bitch and moan about every little inconvenience of daily life here. I’m not one of these grumpy old men who meet up at the local watering hole after breakfast to drown in cheap beer and bitch about expat life. The point of this post is to say this…
You must have patience to live in south east Asia.
I promise you this, things will get on your nerves after a while. The tourist honeymoon phase will pass and now this is your life. You live here. This is your home and you must deal with all the good and bad that comes along with it.
Fortunately, the good far outweighs the bad! Really you would have to drag me back to America kicking and screaming. I love the lifestyle out here. I enjoy the adventure. I’m living my dreams! 😀
Just be patient, keep your cool, learn to laugh at shit and enjoy the ride. You will have the time of your life too.