If you love a splash of colour and would like to paint your dream house in, say, tropical greens and yellows with blue and brown around the guttering and verandah, beware about building in HCM City.
The southern metropolis is proposing to introduce a planning regulation forbidding the facade of houses being painted in more than three colours.
The municipal Department of Planning and Architecture says the idea is now open for discussion. But be warned, using dark blue and light blue together will be considered as two colours. And, believe it or not, if there are paving stones in the small front yard, then the colour of the stone will also be taken into account!
Don't get me wrong. The harmonious use of colours is vital for the overall appearance of any village, town or city. That is why ancient villages and towns always look so peaceful. They are made with the basic colours of the earth, rock and trees found in their own localities - and the natural colours always blend in, no matter where the old house or village is. The same rule applies throughout the world.
But the southern authorities should have thought about all this long ago when they gave permits for the houses to be built. This has led to many homes in the suburbs (and in Ha Noi also, for that matter) looking like multi-coloured mushrooms.
Now that the technicolour riot has got out of hand, they are trying to shut the stable door so to speak. One wonders why the authorities, conservative as they are, did not simply opt for the old building colours of Viet Nam - the yellow, white and dull red ochers for houses, village walls and even pagodas. It is a colour scheme that is so restful on the eye - and it has been a success for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. Why change?.
The worry is that a special department may be created to manage the new colour coding and that it could end up with a variety of clashing colour schemes.
Trendy clothes by the kilo
Customers at the Lotte Mart Trade Centre in HCM City's District 7 can now buy clothes by the kilogramme. The proprietors of the shop say that the technique saves everyone's time and money.
Customers just have to select clothes with the same price tags and put them on the scales. The price for a kilo of clothes is at present VND290,000 (US$14). About six to seven items make a kilo.
The online VNExpress.net newspaper said some readers who bought the clothes found after doing some calculations at home, that the items weren't actually cheaper.They also complained about the quality of some of the goods. A few thought it was just a slick way to get rid of stockpiles of excess merchandise.
Sky high prices at local airports
The Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam has asked all airports throughout the country to check the operations of enterprises sells merchandise at airports.
This followed complaints from foreign and domestic passengers about scams and overcharging, especially at Ha Noi's Noi Bai and Khanh Hoa Province's Cam Ranh airports.
According to VTC News online newspaper, Cam Ranh Airport has the most expensive hamburgers in South East Asia - VND180,000 (about US$9) compared to $5 or $6 dollars in the rest of Asia, Europe and America.
Travellers also complained about VND15,000 for a bottle of drinking water, instead of VND4,000 - 10,000 outside, VND60,000 for a bowl of instant noodle with egg and VND35,000 for an ice-cream
Similarly, shops at Noi Bai International Airport charge VND25,000 for a bottled drinking water and VND45,000 for a bowl of instant noodles. A bowl of pho and a bottle of drinking water can cost up to almost VND200,000 (nearly $10).
Best advice? Carry your own food and eat it at the airport or on the plane. Remember, many planes nowadays charge even more outrageous prices for the most basic foods. — VNS