Sunday, December 5, 2010

Blue License Plates

(PICTURE: Typical blue plates on a nice-ish car.)

In Hanoi, there's thousands of cars -- almost always luxury cars -- that have blue license plates. These blue plates are supposed to be for diplomats but, in reality, everyone and their mother has one. In a culture of corruption, it's surprisingly not that hard to get your hands on a special plate. In fact, the other day I was looking at online classifieds and saw a posting for a motorbike with blue license plates that promised, "If you have these plates, you'll never get pulled over again."

Today though I had a good chuckle as I was driving my motorbike and saw a piece-of-crap car (which are rare here) with white United Nations decal stickers on the side of it. Clearly this was not a United Nations car but rather an ingenious attempt by the cars owner to try and get the benefits of blue license plates without actually having the plates.

Another thing I've seen twice recently are people who put blue-tinted laminate paper over their license plates. On first glance the plates look like diplomatic plates but on second glance they're clearly not. Again, a genius attempt to get the benefits of blue license plates.

Huyen and I are planning on taking a big motorbike trip before going back to the states; I'm gonna need to get blue plates or at least a UN decal or blue laminated paper before we set off.