Published: May 7th 2012May 7th 2012
Leaving Saigon with my new bike I was a little nervous but mostly excited about what was to come. Making my way through the crazy traffic of bikes, cars, trucks and buses there seemed to be no rules other then size matters!! Surviving the day I was roughly 150kms out of Saigon with around 150kms left to Mui Ne when the sun started to go down at 5:30pm. Stopping for a coffee on the side of the road I asked the girl where a hotel was with my trusty piece of paper the receptionist in Saigon wrote out for me converting English to Vietnamese for questions like, how much is this? Where is the nearest ATM? Where is the nearest hotel? This piece of paper has been worth it's weight in gold. With it becoming dark the girl shut up shop and I followed her to the nearest hotel. There meeting more Vietnamese and a couple that even spoke English. Having a chat with the group and the coffee shop girl I was invite to a night of karaoke and to head out for dinner with the coffee girl, sweet. So with a quick check into the room, splash in the
shower and some clean clothes, I was in the karaoke room ready to get the party started. I managed to only get one beer down before the coffee girl arrived for us to get something to eat. One of the English speaking Vietnamese asked me what sort of food I would like and he'd tell the coffee girl to take me there, so I said chicken and rice. This is not what I got.... saying goodbye to the boys in karaoke and telling them I’ll be back after dinner, I jump of the back of the coffee girl's bike. We ended up riding what felt like 10kms out of town which I thought was really strange seeing as I saw plenty of restaurants we could of stopped at, but anyway she stopped at an open air restaurant and we found a table. Looking at the menu is had only seafood and on top of that zero English except the odd picture, interesting. With coffee girl not speaking a word of English my meal was ordered for me. Plate after plate of all types of seafood started coming out, they all tasted great too. About 5 mins later her sister arrived
and started eating too, once again minimal English. 45 mins of eating it was time for the bill, this is when things got interesting. Keep in mind a bowl of chicken noodle soup cost 20,000d = 1USD, and dinner never going over the 100,000d. So the bill come out and was giving to the coffee girl which in turn she gave it straight to me, 680,000d..... ohhh and she expected me to pay for all of it. After about 30mins of me explaining it should got 3 ways and showing her I only hard 200,000d in my wallet her sister eventually when to her bike and got some money out, still taking all of my 200,000d I had to my name. With the bill paid and things still seeming a bit tense we got back onto the bike for what I thought was the trip back to the hotel, wrong. They continued to drive further from town and then down a side road which was dirt and dogs running everywhere and coming to a stop at a house. Into the house we went and told to sit at the table. Then the conversation of money started again with the girls
managing to say “lots of money” for the next 20mins. At this point I was thinking this was going to end badly or best case I was going to have to walk the 15 odd kms back to my hotel but to my surprise they suddenly got up and jumped onto their bikes and told me to get on. I really had no choose so I jumped on and hoped for the best. Lucky for me they took me straight back to the hotel and said I should go to the coffee shop in the morning. I just agreed and made a bee line for my room, thank fuck I made it back in one piece.
The next morning I work up early to hit the road and make good time, the only problem is I had zero money due to what happened the night before. Asking the hotel owners where the nearest ATM was they told me it was 15kms back in the direction of Saigon, great. On the bike again looking for the ATM I started asking people on the side of the street and lucky for me found a Vietnamese family that gave me
sign language as to follow them. With the mum and kids getting dropped of at home I then followed the father to the ATM. First ATM, out of order, Second ATM, did not accept my card, I then asked the father if he could show me to another one, so off we went another 400m up the road. Third ATM, did not accept my card, at this point I started to shit my pants thinking I needed money for the room and also to refuel the bike to continue on my travels. So walking out of the ATM I one again with sign language told the father ATM didn't work and if there was another. Then suddenly he reached into his pocket and pulled out 200,000d ($10USD) and handed it to me, this blew my mind!!! 200,000d is a lot of money to a Vietnamese and for him just to give it away was unheard of. Being stunned by what was happening I gave him and hand shake and pat on the bike while saying “you've saved me, thank you so much” still knowing he wouldn't understand but it needed to be said. Then he just waved goodbye and rode off.... Just like that...
Making it back to the hotel I paid for the room and put the rest of money towards fuel for the bike. So lucky because I didn't see another ATM that worked for 50kms!!! The Vietnamese guy saved me and ill never forget that..