Day One in Vietnam.
We arrived in Ho Chi Minh City at around midnight, and it was a lot like walking onto the set of some sixties war movie. The border security look like they are in slightly overdone third world bad guy costumes, complete with the communist style army caps. We spent half an hour or so walking up and down looking for our airport transfer, who had clearly opted for bed instead of a very late night pickup.
Once we gave up on our transfer we tried in vain to find a sober taxi driver. I picked one who seemed sober, or at least could pass for vertically capable. He then grabbed one of our cases and took off into the parking lot. We chased him down and caught him at a people mover, and then we negotiated a fare. A second person then came to renegotiate and round up, and insisted “tip tip tip”. We then did a circle round the parking lot, and they swopped drivers. again. The new one seemed half sober so we got our hopes up. He proceeded to grab my wallet and audit it for me, just to make sure I didn’t have anything in there he would like to relive me of. After this display of kindness we felt we had found the man to take us to our hotel… but after another circle round the parking lot they swopped back to the first guy.
We finally left the parking lot, after the first taxi driver had told us “not happy” a few times. My wallet was the equivalent of twenty dollars lighter, and we drove four minutes down the road to our hotel.
Vietnam is a funny place, and it’s 2am – we haven’t even started yet.