Nov 15, 2006

The Airport

This is the airport, literally rising up out of the rice paddies. Well not really, it’s been the same airport for fifty years, the rice paddies are getting filled in for houses. Everywhere you look in this capital town houses are going up, nice houses too, ten, twenty, thirty thousand dollars a house. Not shacks at all, with maybe a Toyota pickup in the yard and a wall and gate.

Someone recently offered to sell me a rice paddy for $5,000. If one lai can produce $900 worth of rice per year at the current price of $.60 per kilo, the lai would pay for itself in five and a half years. It’s a shame people are turning paddy into houses. Of course five and a half years would about double your land value also without doing anything, real estate is appreciating at about 20% per year. Not that I'm about to hang it all up and buy a water buffalo or anything mind you.

Until I saw the airport from the viewpoint of this new shortcut it seemed as if I’d never really seen it. When you land the one loading ramp is right under the roof and when you go out the front the view is of a parking lot. Lots prettier from this side.

The waiting line for processing visas was slow and I did notice a tiny bit of corruption in that you can pay a line jumper to take your visa application around to the back side of the desk for instant processing . I forgot to hand over my customs declaration, we were just waived on through anyway.

When you exit the front doors of the airport there is even one of those crowd barrier fences where people wait behind with signs, about ten people total. I’d say the tout scene is a little undeveloped here.

Later... Nov.21, 06 Got another opinion on yield per lai of rice, more like 480 kilos. Not buying any rice fields anyway.