Nurse Myra has us staying at the wonderful Xinh Moi Hotel* in the newly decreed ‘city’ (it was until recently a town) Quang Ngai. The Xinh Moi is a kind of grand palatial kind of building, painted a very fetching shade of hyper-peppermint green (I’m not being sarcastic – I do think it’s a lovely colour). In the manner of many Vietnamese buildings it has a haphazard shabbiness that makes it very appealing. It is also quite weird – the entire centre of the hotel is a three-storey big empty room. Cars and bikes get parked on the ground floor, but aside from that, it has to be said that the Xinh Moi, as a piece of architecture, is mostly empty space.

We have our suspicions about some of the activities going on in the Xinh Moi. More about that in a bit.

One of the great features of the Xinh Moi, along with the air-conditioning and the very polite staff, is the list of guest rules.

Here are a couple (verbatim):

5. Don’t bring foods such as dry squids, octopus little fishes, dry fishes into the room. If the guests have them. Please send them in the kitchen of the hotel.

6. Don’t bring the flamable materials and the things easily explode (burst) into the room.

This causes me to wonder if in the past there has been some very unfortunate kind of fish-based explosive incident in one of the rooms, the aftermath of which can only be imagined. It would, perhaps, also explain the industrial quantities of mothballs and napthalene-fumed cleaning solutions that the housekeeping staff seem to like to douse our room with each day.

Another favourite is:

12. Everybody much obey the struction number 05 of the Government about the guests houses and hotels never taking the possitude oneselt girl into the room.

Now, we’ve been sitting in the cocktail bar across the road these past few evenings, and our considered opinion is that there is something of a business of extra-hotel activities in operation at the back of the Xinh Moi. Certainly, a couple of nights back, the room next door was breaking rule:

7. Don’t make very noisly and loudly sound that are able to affect badly to next rooms

…what with the exuberant male voices and the flirtatious female giggling…

Nurse Myra and I looked at each other.

“Possitude oneselt girls”, we agreed.


*Not its real name. I’d hate to get these poor people in trouble with the government, which is a very real possibility in this country.