Department of Railways,
Text on page 120
the middle, worth about the 375th part of a piastre. There is a constant change in the exchange value of the piastre, fluctuating as a rule between 2.20 and 2.60 francs.
The weights and measures in general use follow the French system, the old local standards being gradually superseded.
As in other countries, no fixed standard can be laid down as to the expenses of travelling, for much depends on the state of the traveller's purse. But for ordinary tourists, who do not care to spend any more than necessary, something like 17 piastres (on an average) a day would cover food, lodging, carriage charges, railway and other travelling expenses.
VII. Language and Guides. The prevailing language of French Indo-China is the Annamese, which is regarded, on account of difficulties in pronunciation and accent, as one of the most difficult
Elephants paying Respect beporb the Palace.
languages to learn. In large cities, French is generally spoken among European residents, and there are increasingly large numbers of natives who speak it. The French authorities are making an attempt to introduce, and with considerable success, a method of transliterating Annamese into Roman letters, and already the transliterated Annamese is taught in the common schools. As a result of this policy, the old Chinese literature is becoming neglected.
There are no professional 'guides.' Coolies at the wharf or at the railway stations of large cities generally know some French, and these may be hired as guides for sight seeing for 30 cents per y2 day (4 hrs.) or 50 cents per day (8 hrs.). Otherwise at Hanoi and Saigon there are tourist bureaux, where travellers may obtain all necessary information regarding the country. ' The office in Hanoi