There is no ‘bucket list’ - Lynne and I are both well, thank you – but we have arrived at a point in our lives where we have the time, the money and the good health to indulge in a passion for travel. We know how lucky and privileged we are to be able to do this, and we know it won’t last for ever, but while it does…..



Thursday, 22 March 2012

Ray Bans in Heathrow and Saigon: A Prelude to Vietnam North to South

We arrived in Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon on Thursday morning and spent the day stumbling around in the mental and physical limbo that is jet lag before flying onto Hanoi on Friday. I will write about Saigon when we return in a couple of weeks - except for the following .....

Before leaving home, I realised that although I owned several pairs of sunglasses, none of them were in a usable condition. I wandered into Sunglass Hut (an expansion of the pizza franchise?) in Heathrow and picked up the nearest pair. They were Ray-Bans priced at £230. My sunglasses have a life expectancy of two or three months before I sit on them or leave them in a pub, so this did not seem a sensible price [update at end]. Actually, it did not seem a sensible price under any conditions. We all know that there are a tribe of people - Hugo Boss, Donna Karin and old Raymondo Ban among them - whose signature on a perfectly ordinary pair of sunglasses is deemed to increase their value severalfold. We all know it, but I suspect I am not the only one fails to understand it. All I wanted was a pair of cheap, serviceable sunglasses and they had nothing even close to that description.

I later found a pair in the airport pharmacy for £17 - still rather on the expensive side - but they made me look like a child molester.

Twenty not entirely enjoyable hours later Lynne and I were sitting outside a street cafe in Ho Chi Minh City  attempting to rehydrate ourselves with a bottle or two of light, fizzy Saigon Beer. We had seen off a stream of street sellers offering us dodgy DVDs, bracelets and books and declined a shoe shine from a lad who was insistent he could do something with my trainers, when a man hove into view bearing a board covered with sunglasses.

I selected a likely looking pair, they had a sticker saying 'genuine Ray Bans' on one lens. His asking price was 150,000 Dong (about £5) - the Vietnamese Dong is not one of the world's larger currency units, indeed we became multi-millionaires at our first trip to the cash point. I was tired and did not have my bargaining head on and anyway it is inappropriate for the mega-rich* to haggle too hard with the dirt poor, so I made a token effort and eventually let him charge me £4. Now that is a proper price to pay for a pair of 'genuine' Ray Bans.


Looking cool in in 4 poundsworth of  'genuine' Ray Bans

I was unaware that two weeks would pass before I would need to use them

* Those who know me and were not aware that I was one of the mega-rich are probably unaware that they are mega-rich too.

On to Part 1: Hanoi

update: For the next incident in the life of these sunglasses, and another good reason for not paying £200+ see The Cowpat Walks 4: Biddulph, The Cloud & Rushton Spencer

1 comment:

  1. Karan, darling, Donna Karan. I can also produce opinions on her tailoring for you if you'd like ;)

    How long before you sit on this pair of 'genuine Ray Bans', eh? And, more relevant to my interests, have you been offered and deep-fried arachnids?

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