After three hours sleep I woke up to a phone call from Thea stating I needed to be up in twenty minutes to go to the police station. I took my bags down to reception, thinking I'd be going on my trip to the Mekong Delta after the station, and went with Thea to the restaurant from last night. I told one of the waiters there what had happened and where, as he had agreed to translate for me at the station. The police station turned out to be directly opposite the bar from last night, and I was asked why I didn't go to them last night - clearly the concept of being lost was lost on them. They wouldn't do the report, telling me to go back at 2pm, which of course meant no tour.
Thea had wanted to stay and sort it out rather than get a bus back o Cambodia, which she was meant to do at 6am, but after buying her a so-called English breakfast as thanks I convinced her to go, as the Vietnamese waiter was going back with me.
After seeing her off I went back to my hotel room, as I didn't have to check out until noon, so woke up Anjali and planned my new itinerary for Saigon. The remainder of the group were meeting at 11.30am for lunch, so I talked to Tuan, Doug's friend from home who moved out here a few years ago, and arranged meeting him and his wife in the evening, then met the group in the lobby. They'd all left before the incident last night, and were shocked to hear about the course of events, as well as being annoyed that the brilliant tour had ended that way. Join the club.
After lunch, a second breakfast really, I walked back to the hotel to get my passport for the police whilst the rest of the group headed to the reunification palace. The waiter took me to the station on the back of his crocodile leather-seated motorbike, and I smiled empathetically at two other Western girls filling out their police reports. The waiter had told me to put 100,000VND in an envelope 'just in case', which came into play when he'd finally translated my writing in the report. The policeman just slyly put the envelope under his work and told us to come back at 8pm; it's good to know corruption is still in play.
I spoke to Mum and Dad after giving them the hotel number, and of course the pent up tears from last night made an appearance, but felt much better after speaking to them. I got a cyclo over to the Notre Dame Cathedral where I was meeting Tuan, after being reassured by the driver that I wouldn't break the thing, and faced the oncoming traffic head-on as he carried on regardless through the red lights, as does most traffic here. He took a picture for me when we arrived and I gave him a small tip of 2,000VND - he wasn't impressed by this and said 'ah, cheap tip!' I should have taken it back!
I'd told Tuan he'd be able to spot me as I was a six foot westerner who pretty much looks just like Doug; he found me immediately. He of course knew Doug was tall, so to find me a whole foot above him and his wife can't have been too much of a shock, but sitting down made us all feel a little less awkward! We talked for two hours over a frappacino, discussing all things from how one of his friends had been converted to a dog-lover in a new sense to Doug's love of Vietnamese baguettes, before they had to head off to a wedding reception. We agreed to meet next week, after which I walked the 'walking distance' back to my hotel, as per Tuan's directions. It was walkable, but the immense amount of motorbikes and scooters on the roads made it an impressive feat to cross them.
I stopped off for a strange iced coffee to cool down before heading back to the hotel, as the group had already left the hotel. I was told this, in a roundabout way, by the useless receptionist who also told us the wrong time to be ready for the tour that never happened this morning, she simply said 'I don't know' when I asked where the huge group that had been staying at the hotel was. I admitted defeat, but stupidly still thanked her, and headed back to my hotel, but low and behold there they were in my hotel's restaurant! I nipped across to the other restaurant to get my police report from the waiter, thanking him profusely. I then ate with the group, relaying my tales of corruption, before saying another set of goodbyes and heading to a bar with Scott and Marc for one last Saigon beer, and some pool on a wonky table. The bars were dead, although it was Sunday night, so we played a bit of pool on a wonky table before all heading off to the land of nod.