Sunday, August 12, 2007

Going shopping on a bike

There are only a few large shopping centres in Ho Chi Minh City which have dedicated parking areas for the bikes. Here you see a double storey parking lot for bikes. You can make out the second level if you peer real closely in the centre of the pix. A ramp allows you to drive your bike up to the upper level. Stop at the main entrance to ensure the parking attendants take note of your license plate number and have your receipt stapled onto your handlebars.

For small stores - park at the open bike parking lots labelled "Giu Xe" (literally "Keep bike") or if they allow you, park right in front of the store. Most employees park their bike inside the stores (just like some residents park their bikes in their living room - usually the only room in their home!).

Once you're done with your shopping, stuff the goods in the boot... oops, i mean the seat of your bike... oops, so small ah!

Never mind you can also tie up the rest and place them on the hooks at the front of the bike. Make sure the goods are placed properly or else you might lose your balance.

Don't just zoom off. Pay for parking and make sure they check you've taken the right bike out. Fees for parking is between 2,000 VND (S$0.20)or 5,000 VND (S$0.50)(usually in town or expensive spots like the Hyatt) per entry. At the open lots, your bike is chalked with your ticket number.

The locals have their shopping balanced to a tee! They even manage to pack in a child or two ... !


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