Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hors d'oeurves

Helmets go like hot cakes
With stricter traffic laws meaning all State employees must wear helmets this month as well as all motorcyclists on national roads, as of September 15, not surprisingly it’s a very good month for people selling ‘rice cookers’. However, demand is currently far higher than supply, so if you’re looking for a new helmet you might find yourself in a bit of a rugby-style scrum this month as thousands scramble for the remaining stock. Of course, wherever there is a strong demand there is a naughty little-so-and-so trying to make a fast buck. Ho Chi Minh City officials have reported that fake or low-quality items are being sold on the market. However the Market Monitoring Agency is on the case and confiscating substandard helmets in the city. One unlicensed shop in Binh Tan district was rumbled selling phony helmets with Honda brand names stuck on the side. Let’s hope the helmet-traders are stocking up on authentic products as demand will only be on the rise as all motorbike drivers (even those of you with pretty hair-dos!) will be forced to wear helmets as of December 15.

No liquids!
At this stage most international travelers will have discovered the joys of having after-shave, perfume, bottles of Evian, wine or perhaps 12-year-old Scotch, confiscated while boarding flights. Security measures mean no liquids are allowed on board most international or domestic flights these days and Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Administration has announced from this October, passengers will not be allow to bring liquid on board all domestic flights – so no bottled water, soft drinks, perfumes and we presume nuoc mam. All items must be checked in as stored luggage. Medication is acceptable, while baby milk and foodstuffs are also allowed. But these bottles must contain no more than 100ml of liquid be carried in clear bottles and contained in a transparent plastic bag. Liquid items bought from duty-free stores at the airport must be put in the sellers’ sealed transparent plastic bags, which must be enclosed with receipt clearly stating the purchased time and location. So be careful if you’re bringing along a fancy bottle of bubbly for your holliers.

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