Monday, October 20, 2008

Vietnam vs. Hong Kong

This is a little late in coming, but I wanted to write down an observation about a difference between Hong Kong and Vietnam.

About a month or so ago, my wife and I took a short vacation to Phu Quoc, Vietnam. There we mostly lounged about on the beach, ate good food, and relaxed.

The highlight was going from place to place on a motorscooter that we rented from our hotel for around $7 U.S. per day.

The roads were not paved on the entire island and very muddy from the rains. It was a bit treacherous, but we figured if everyone on the island could brave riding these scooters, then so could we.

I'd had a motorcycle back in college in the U.S. The motorscooter we rented was pretty much a motorcycle, only without a clutch and hence, my easier to ride.

Whatever the case, renting them was a breeze. No license, no registration, no insurance, no deposit, no nothing. Just $7 a day.

In fact, it was so much fun that after returning to Hong Kong, I contacted the government and inquired about how I might go about getting a motorscooter to ride around in Hong Kong.

It turns out the process of getting the proper license to ride these so-easy-to-ride automatic scooters is labyrinthine in Hong Kong.

One must register for a 5-month course at an official driving school. Then, one must take a motorcycle road test. And should one pass that test, he or she gets a one-year provisional license during which time he or she cannot ride a motorcycle faster than 75kph and cannot ride with a passenger in the back.

This would be useless for me, for the whole fun of riding the motorcycle was to do so with my wife sitting behind me and holding me. That was a thrill, let me tell you.

Bottom line is, it's just not worth going through all that trouble in Hong Kong. Of course, if I had a motorcycle license from the U.S., it'd be a different story as that license could be transferred rather head-ache free to HK. I have a U.S. driver's license for cars but never got a motorcycle license there, which now I regret so much.

I guess to enjoy riding, my wife and I will simply have to go back to Vietnam. Oh well!

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