Good Morning Vietnam!!

Trip Start May 18, 2005
Trip End May 18, 2006

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Friday, June 17, 2005

Good Morning Vietnam!! Well its more like good evening really. We arrived from Guangzhou by plane at about 10.30pm and stood in a que at airport immigration for about an hour while our luggage got lonely on the conveyor belt. After they finally let us through we had to find somewhere to take out some Vietnamese currency, but of course we couldn't find an ATM that would take any of our cards. We had loads of Chinese money which we hadn't had time to change when in China and the exchange place wouldn't exchange it for us. So we were stuck in the airport with no way of getting into Hanoi coz we couldn't pay for a taxi or a bus. As a last resort we went round and tried the ATM's again and magically one of the ones that was out of service the first time had miraculously repaired itself so we could take out money!! Relief!!

We grabbed a taxi (or rather he grabbed us-its madness at the taxi rank) and headed to Hanoi and pretty quickly we realised that your man was trying to scam us. He wouldn't turn on the meter and said it would cost $20 U.S. to get into town. We eventually got him to put on the meter (he pretended he didn't understand). He then stopped in the middle of the motor way and made a phone call to someone - we thought he was calling someone to come and rob us so or something I quickly whipped out my phone and we threatened to call the cops. That got him moving. Then he tried to take loads of wrong turns away from Hanoi (we could see the signs clearly on the road) so we had to make him turn back onto the main road again about 5 times. THEN.... as if that wasn't already enough, he brought us to some hotel we hadn't asked for and there were 2 guys waiting there to open the doors and take our luggage out of the boot!! So we had two canary's each and threatened him again with the cops. I slammed the car door on the 2 guys outside who were a bit shocked at it all and off he went, finally to our hotel. THEN.... (yes, then) we went to pay him and he completely scammed us. It cost about 200,000 dong (about 10 euro) and because the currency is only new to us and all looks the same with loads of zeros on it we gave him the wrong amount - as in about 1 million dong!! He gave us back our change which we didn't even look at as we were in such bad moods already and it wasn't until we got into the hotel that we realised. The fucker!!! Well, it only gets good from here....


We called the taxi company and told them everything (or rather we got the very helpful hotel staff to make the call for us - it's not like we're fluent in Vietnamese or anything) and the next morning the taxi company arrived to the hotel with all of our money and told us that they sacked the driver!! We couldn't believe it. Felt a little bit guilty - FOR ABOUT 2 SECONDS!! He did rob us after all. Just hope he doesn't have some kinda Vietnamese vendetta and comes hunting us down.

But apart from all that malarchy Hanoi is lovely. We're in the Old Quarter right in the centre of the city. It's much more relaxed here than in any of the cities in China. There's mopeds absoulutely everywhere, everyone has one. You can pretty much walk to anywhere of interest in the city, it's not that big and most of the sights are central.

We arranged trips up to Sa Pa and Ha Long Bay for during the week so that should be fun. Will keep you posted anyway. More Hanoi stories and photos later, I'm too hungry to type any more....
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