Blog Day 76-78 Thur 21st-Sat 23rd July 2011
Early today we get to the office & have to wait a further hour & a half before the bus finally arrives & we jump on it headed towards Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). Snacks today are Pot noodle when we stop for lunch, m&ms & ketchup & mayonnaise flavored pringles which are actually really nice. We are on the bus all day & finally arrive late evening. After getting charged an extortionate rate to get to our hotel (the meter was going up in random figures & we find out in the morning its about 10 mins away not 30) we reach it, check in & then find somewhere to eat, a little Mexican restaurant serving great cocktails.
Today we wander around trying to find a bar that Dan has found that is playing the rugby, he has read about a place called Phattys not too far from where we are staying. Once we find it we have some lunch & a couple of beers & spend the afternoon watching New Zealand vs Fiji. A game that didn't work out to well for Fiji. After leaving the bar we wander around a little market for about an hour or so before the heavens open & it throws it down. We find shelter behind one of the market stalls & as soon as it clears we make a dash for it back to the hotel.
Yesterday we walked past a bakery café that had every type of cake & pastry imaginable on display, so needless to say this is where we have decided to go to have our brunch today. After choosing a plate of mixed Danish pastries & breads we head up to the café restaurant & sit outside admiring the volume of traffic (motorbikes mostly) that fill up the streets, driving along needlessly honking their horns & going on with their daily business. After a while we take a stroll back towards the hotel, we were going to head back in but we decide to keep on walking, we can't shop as we are low on money & now on a strict budget as much as possible but we decide to keep going anyway rather than be boring & spend the rest of the afternoon just sitting in a hotel room. This decision however happens to have extreme consequences unfortunately. As we were walking along some chancer parked up on a scooter saw his opportunity and snatched Trish's bag off of her. Dan was a few steps ahead as we were walking single file along the road. The sidewalks tend to be full of stalls and general crap which forces you to walk in the road. Trish shouted that the bag with the camera had been snatched and after taking a few seconds to register what was going on I took off after the little sod. I say 'took off' but this was a chase I was attempting to give in flip flops. After about 10 clumsy steps the flip flops were off and I WAS RUNNING! (FORREST GUMP STYLE!). I chased the guy for about half a mile as he casually stopped at all the traffic junctions before pulling out into streaming traffic. Each time I gained any ground he would just speed off. He eventually pulled out onto a main highway and was gone…….. So was the skin on both my little toes!
At the time it was a horrible experience, however the only thing that was in the bag was the camera which had about 2 days' worth of pictures on it. It could have been a hell of a lot worse. This thought didn't really cross our minds at the time though as we were both livid! Trish had headed back to the hotel and I was walking back to where the bag had been snatched. A kind little fella told me that 'my friend' had walked back to the hotel. As I got there Trish came out and she was in bits. As I consoled her and my toes, one of the local shopkeepers sat there staring at us laughing. Real 'salt of the earth' kind of guy, and I let him know it. They obviously see this sort of thing every day.
Now our next task is to get to the local police station to get some sort of crime report filled in, something we can go to the insurance company with. As it turns out the bag was snatched right outside the police station. How do you like that for irony! I say it was a police station, but inside was this useless excuse for a human being, dressed up in a police uniform that looked like it had come straight out of Toys'R'Us. He was sitting on a piece of patio furniture watching cartoons. We could tell this wasnt going to go well. On hearing our foreign accent he told us to go get someone that spoke Vietnamese. We went and got the receptionist from our hotel and she ended up having to translate our account of what happened on a police report. The time now is about 3pm, we take the report back to the 'police station', and bearing in mind that all this dickhead has to do is stamp and sign it, he tells us to come back at 7pm. WHAT A JOKE! It's now getting more and more painful to walk and I'm starting to get the real arse with this place! We head back to the hotel where our receptionist tell us that she will go and get the report and that we should come down at 7.30pm to collect it from her. She was really lovely and was doing everything that she could to help us.
We spend the next couple of hours playing the incident over and over again in our heads, going through the 'what ifs'. We head down to reception at about 7.20 only to find out that the girl that was helping us has finished for the day. She did go back to the 'police station' but the prat down there now won't do the report until Monday! WHAT AN ABSOLUTE JOKE! The guy on reception tells us that they will send us through the copy. Apparently this thing happens a lot around here and they have done it for other people. He then goes on to tell us that if it was to happen to a Vietnamese person they wouldn't be able to claim on insurance etc. My heart bleeds for you fella but that is why we have paid for insurance, to cover ourselves when we visit armpit areas of the world such as this! At the time this is what I really felt like throwing back at him but instead we just shook our heads and told him that it was such a shame.
So being all riled up with no one to take it out on we head to the sports bar next door to watch South Africa take on Australia in the Tri Nations. The reception is terrible in the so called 'sports bar' so we decided to give up and go get a curry. We are outta here in the morning!