Life in Hanoi

Friday, March 25, 2005

which job is suitable for me???

You scored as Singer.







Actor or actress!














What job is right 4 u?
created with

Thursday, March 24, 2005

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

Sp far I have been visited to 30 countries, which is 13%. I guess before 30 yrs old, I am gonna aim at achieving 30%.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Lessons to learn

Long staying guest
An American named Michael from Washington D.C. was stayed in the hotel for a month as vacation. A nice room in the old wing was given to him. His hair style looked like 1970s yuppies and it seemed that he love travelling alone. During which, he met some friends who brought me for a visit to a local factory; he was interested in buying the banner “happy new year” in Vietnamese and was offered FOC by a shop who aren’t selling that banner but was amazed by his second return, which they promised to sell him for his second visit…

Losing pyjama
A lady used the laundry service for her first visit and was responded by the receptionist that her clothes will be return to her room for her second visit a few days later. When she returned, she claimed to lose a pair pyjama which cost 100 USD. The Laundry Department can’t find the pyjama anymore and the FO Director came to resolve the problem by offering her upgrade. She was infuriated with this proposal and requested to talk with the manager.

Demand discount on printing materials
The guest Mr. Kramer, Albert, room 311, demanded a discount of 50% for printing 200 pages of document. Turned out giving him a discount of 0.1 cent per page-

Bag snatched issue
A lady’s bag was snatched by somebody in a shop. Luckily she didn’t lose anymore, but she would like to claim insurance. It is complicated to report such a case to the police, normally will last for a few hours. The police need to know the exact place where the bag had been snatched and the time. As they can only speak Vietnamese, the security guards have to record this issue and make a report and bring them to the police station.

A pair of shoes in other guest’s suitcase
A lady with a pair of shoes told the bellboy to keep for her and the bellboy though the suitcase next to that lady was hers and so after a while he put the shoes inside that suitcase. Regrettably, the suitcase was for another Australian guest. This issue warns the bellboy never open guests’ suitcases.

The lady was pissed after knowing that her beloved shoes were put in another guest’s suitcase. Luckily she will go to Australia next week and hopefully she will find that guest.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Le Beaulieu

After one and a half month training in the reception, I am now in the Food and Beverage Department, a department I have missed for two years. As my main task is to be familiar with the operation functions, I will be working for all outlets, each with a maximum of three days. My first stop: Le Beaulieu restaurant, gave me an impression of having potential rooms to improve. Cutleries in the drawers are mess up; there are only two commies for the whole restaurant; employees are not smiling all the time and their announcement on dishes is not sufficient and there are not that pro for recommending wine.

Working in there for three days is tough. The first night is Valentine’s Day and the restaurant is full house. As I am not familiar with the menu, I just simply walk around and chat with guests. Afterwards, once they paid the bill, I will give the gentleman the flower and an annual diary. All the tables are filled with ladies and gentlemen, except one table with two guys and the other with one lady.

If I were the lady, I wouldn’t go to these places alone, especially on Valentine’s Day. From what I knew, she was coming from Washington DC and today was her birthday. I can’t do that much after knowing it’s her birthday. Only greetings and the conversation ended. I guess I need to improve on this secession.

As for the two guys, one was French and the other was Vietnamese. I didn’t give the flowers to them as the other waitress did that. Same as I expect, the French guy gave the flower to the Vietnamese guy, which is acting “girl friend”.

I remembered after working in the restaurant, I went to the reception from time to time, chatting with others. During which, in a sudden, a group of individuals check in and so I went to help for a bit. I also acted as operator in the back office and handled two complains. One complains was from room 274. The man from England was exhausted after the long air trip. He wanted to sleep but was disturbed by the “noise” from press club, which is situated right opposite to his room. I came to his room and told him the truth, saying that the music will only last until 2300, at that time it was 2200. And the noise was from outside, not from the hotel. However I do understand it is really hard to sleep in such condition. So may be you can watch television for a while or take a hot bath. If you need any help, please feel free to contact us in the reception. Then he said, but you can’t do that much. I replied: “Well, at least I can give you an earplug if you want to. The noise will only be for tonight and if they continue after 2300, then I will send someone there to complain. Once again, I thank you for your understanding and hope that you can get a good night sleep after 2300”.You can see that from this conversation, I never ever mention the word sorry as I transferred his emotions and try to be himself. So far that’s one way I will handle for noise complain from other clubs.

Second complain was that the guest wanted to make decaffeinated coffee in the morning and was fierce to know that we do not have such packet available in the hotel. He said it was unacceptable not to have decaffeinated coffee packs in the room. At that time, I made up the conversation by telling him that the management in here is recently discussing of buying decaffeinated coffee in room or not and then I analysis the situation to me. No doubt, it is good for guests to have a wide variety of choice. However, we do have freshly filtered decaffeinated coffee machine in the bar, which tastes much better than those make up ones in room. As right now we only have freshly brewed decaffeinated coffee, I would suggest you to call the room service tomorrow morning if you would like to have one. Once you call, they will bring it right to your door. Again, I am sorry about the inconvenience that had made on you. Of course finally, his anger was reduced and he agreed with my arrangements. Afterwards, I checked with the guest history and discovered that actually he had made quite a lot of complains about the language level of the staff and the slow service of the restaurant. So I told the room service to be alert of this guest and be quick in serving him.

What I did in here again is follow up.

Another thing for Le Beaulieu is the background music. As a French restaurant, the RM was concerned with the match of the music. Once he was dissatisfied with the Spanish music when he heard that in the morning. So my task was to gather all the CDs in the restaurant and listened to tell which CD is suitable for which occasion. To my shallow experience on music, Baroque music, such as Bach and Hayden, which is played with harpsichord, produced a light, energetic feeling, particularly well for the morning breakfast. As for dinner, music like romantic and classical, such as Schubert, Schumann, Mozart, whereas Chopin’s Nocturne will be good for evening music in Bar le Club.

One of the best things of being a GM is that he/she can choice his/her favourite music to be played in the restaurant.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Night auditor

Working as night shift was first interesting to me but then boring as the night manager seems indifference to my existence. I started to realise when I first started with a bleeding incident. A guy slipped over the bath tube and had blood in his head. The hanger was felt and when I came, every towel in the bathroom was filled with blood. The blood of the guy had been stopped and we gave them some bandages just in case and asked the room attendant to clean up the area. On the way to and back from their room, the night manager seldom say a word to me and he was far front of me despite I walked quite fast. And during the night, he kept silent. Even I started to ask him some questions concerning the night shift, he just plainly past through with simple phrases. I was pissed and find it hard to be working with him.
Luckily he was disappeared for nearly two hours starting from three in the morning. I guess that’s the time for him to get a nap. I am still regret that he didn’t show me the way of patrolling: walking around the hotel. Instead, I believe he didn’t do his job quite well.
Did he know the way in training? Undoubtedly I am still new in the night shift and he should be willing to teach me. Of course, it is also my responsibility to observe what he did. Alas, it is controversy; especially yesterday I attend the importance of training meeting, hosted by the human resources. I will write in more details later about the entire training course I have enrolled.
To be honest, what I did for the two night shift was acted as operator, listening to guests requests and playing around with my lap top. One more “detrimental”, as some may regard, is guest calling for girl. Once I received such a call, the guest said, “I want a girl…”. “I said, what, a girl, what’s a girl” as I can’t hear quite well for his Dutch English accent. He then said, “I am so boring, I need somebody to accompany”: Then I realised his needs. I told the night manager and he said in an indifference mood, you can handle it by yourself.
Diu him. Well, I then told the guest we do not provide any girls in this hotel. But if you really want somebody to accompany, you can call the Fortuna hotel. The guest then claimed that he want the girl to be coming in his room. I continued, convincingly, well, Mr. xxx, if you go to Fortuna hotel, you can have a wide selection of girls and then you can relax by having massage. In addition, if you want to bring the girl back to here, we will charge you 30++ USD for one joiner and we need to keep her ID card for security reason. He then thanked me happily and after a few minutes, I saw him calling taxi towards that hotel. I guess he did have fun with those Vietnamese girls.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Dog meat evening

I joined the dog meat dinner with all the cashiers, around 10 guys. We went to the famous dog’s meat zone, in the middle road of the north of West Lake. Though I know Chinese eat dog’s meat, I have never tried personally. So it’s good to have a try. The restaurant was in fact a local house. We sat on the floor, with table clothes scattered on the ground, and the waiters put everything there. We had one type of sauce, the shrimp sauce with squeezed lemon juice, and we ate steamed dog and marinated dog dipped in the sauce with dog’s meat leaves. Truly, it is difficult to explain the taste of dog, sometimes it’s like eating beef and sometimes like the fat of pork.
Westerners can’t stand of eating dog as they pretend to be “kind” and “generous”. They can eat all kinds of animals with different types of cooking method but can’t stand of dog because dog’s is the man’s best friend. Nonsense, huh. It’s just that dog hasn’t been regarded as a common cuisine.
After on, we had the second activity: singing karaoke. I already had a feeling that I am going to be bored during the singing as most of the songs are in Vietnamese. There were lots of traditional English songs which I have never heard of. What stroke me was that they ordered some girls to play with. You can imagine what they did. I will post some pics afterward. I refused for those girls as I don’t know...Was I afraid of the inexperience in handling girls or the later that I regard myself as somebody who do “ the right thing” or afraid of them spreading rumours about me of playing with girls as well? Who knows…

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


I was training as cashier for the past four days and I started to do treasure hunting or searching everything related to this Department. One of the funniest parts is reading the refund files.
1. In low season, our hotel will have a hot deal promotion to attract guests in a relatively low price, but the condition is that no amendment and modification could be made after confirmation. However, there are lots of special cases that change this rule. For instance, a lady was sick with breast cancer and so she cannot stay in our hotel. She wrote many letters describing her conditions and finally we only charged her 1 room night only.
2. Another case is guests booked with a package but they don’t know that the package include rooms so they reserve a room, meaning that they booked twice for the same period in different methods. After continuous complaining, we waived the no-show fee on this occasion only.
3. Sometimes, guest blamed the media that the hotel didn’t receive their cancellation on time. In particular, guests want to cancel their room but due to email problem or telephone communication problem in Halong Bay. The results are: refund to them, “waive this no-show charge as an exceptional case”.
4. If you want to get some refund from the hotel, complain with details please!!! Mr. Robinson, John Nicholas is a typical case. He complained about the food in spices garden. In his letter, he said that chicken was not fully cooked, fish was greasy, the staff was tire and lack of direction, there were no explanation on food, the waiters did not clear debris from the table and so desert were served in messy table. Result: total refund of that meal.
Of course there are more cases, such as credit card companies ask the hotel to refund with different reasons or the hotel made mistakes on guest accounts, you name it.
Exchanging money
The most unforgettable part as cashier is exchanging money from guests. Sometimes guest will give us travellers check or other currencies for exchanging local currency. The point is that we do not have electronic machines and so we put all the money in one large drawer, in which money were placed disorderly. The trouble I face all the time is getting the correct amount as Dong is so large. Imagine, for 100 USD, you can get 1 million 40 thousand 5x dollars