Sunday, 5 October 2008

Vietnam Rip-offs Pt 2




Ah yes, here we go again. Just when you think you've turned a corner in Vietnam, one of them tries to kick you in the Family Jewels. We disembarked the train, jumping down to the ground off the steps...just like in the films! This station was in the middle of nowhere, and we organised Honda Om's to take us into Phan Thiet, a sleepy fishing village on the coast (where else?). The drivers were trying to confuse us with figures, and our pleasant streak through the countryside, narrowly avoiding running over snakes and small children, was tempered somewhat by the maths running round my head. HOW much? Needless to say, a 12km ride here should not be relieving myself and The Colonel of 17 of your English Pounds. The cheek. As the sea came into view, and that lusty salty smell bit my nostrils...I formulated a plan. The bandits dropped us at a luxurious hotel. Now, I had no intention of staying here, but knew there would be a good English speaker (if you can call catering for Americans, Seth Effrickens and Aussies as requiring English?) on reception. I grabbed my back and gestured that the men should follow me in. The Colonel proceeded to wrestle with his driver, who was clinging onto his rucksack as insurance of payment. I garnered from the receptionist that the ride should have cost us 400 VND at most, not 1,000,000. So Isaid the men should call the police if they wanted more than 600 VND as meeting them halfway over the misunderstanding (misleading, more like). One of them squatted in the street, holding his head in his hands. I thought "I've just not let you rip me off as much, mate...not gunned down your entire family". Unbelievable. After they'd gone, the girl shrugged and said "Welcome to Vietnam". Indeed, love. Indeed.

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