Blog Day 68 Wed 13th July 2011
Today we find a great ice-cream place that has been recommended by several people (this is our breakfast I might add).Fanny's is the name and ice cream is definitely the game. Dan has something that is pretty much chocolate to the core and Trish goes for a subtle little sorbet number. After this we decide to take a stroll alongside the Hoan Kiem Lake, this is where disaster strikes.
A little Vietnamese fella pops up out of nowhere carrying a little basket of goodies. We usually avoid said people like the plague or just ignore them and they tend to go away, this one however had managed to get one of Dan's flip flops off his foot mid stride without him even knowing about it. Turns out this guy was a flip flop repair man and he had spotted that Dan's was starting to look worse for wear. We told him from the outset that we had no money on us and just to give us back the tatty sandal. But he was having none of it. Next thing we know Dan is standing barefoot on the street whilst this guy superglues the soles of his flip flops back together. He then proceeds to pimp Dan's footwear by carefully sculpting bits of rubber onto the heels. 'We have no money!' we tell him constantly but he is still refusing to listen saying 'I do for you, I do for you!' He then returns Dan's fully restored, fully functioning pair of high heeled flip flops. Then comes the price. One Hundred Thousand Dong (£3) the cheeky little sod. Now it was out of principal that we weren't going to pay. A full on shouting match followed which ended in Dan ripping off the wonderfully sculpted high heels and throwing them at the guy! Probably not the best move but it was either throw them at him or slap him with them. We offered him Two Thousand Dong (about 6p) which he immediately took offense to. He pulled out his phone saying that he was going to 'call mafia, call mafia' this probably meant more midget flip flop handymen. We didn't hang about to find out the difference though. The rain had already started to fall and this silly little sod was following us whilst on his phone. We ducked and dived down a few roads before slipping into a taxi back to the hotel. Mad as anything!
As we had checked out of the room already we were told we could wait in a little TV room, where we sat for about 3 hours. We have brought some pot noodles but the staff says they have no kettle to boil us any water, after much persuasion they miraculously find a kettle that was sitting on a table in the 'restaurant' the whole time & oblige.
We also confirm that this isn't the hotel that we are meant to be in and that the place that was posing as our original hotel was a booking office. Turns out it's a common scam out here for the taxi drivers from the airport to get the name of your hotel, ring through to the booking office so they can make some fake paperwork, resulting in you booking a tour through them. We go through all of this with the guy at the front desk and end up somehow managing to get some money back which covers the room that we had initially paid out for. We haven't lost any money if anything we gained two free nights and had a really good time on the trip, but the cheek of it & the way they went around it was just plain frustrating.
We will be glad to get away from here, the coach is meant to have picked us up at 6 but it's an hour late. The long distance busses out here are a very popular way of getting about. They are not like your regular coaches everywhere else in the world, these are sleeper coaches that consist of three aisles of seats that recline into beds. We are situated right up the back where there are 3 'beds' together. This means that Trish is going to be sleeping alongside a stranger. This turns out to be a nice, but rather big boned, German lady. It could have been worse though. On the coach's last pick up the bus is full to busting. This mode of transport is more popular with the locals than it is with backpackers. A far cry from the Baz Bus back in South Africa. The isles are lined with bodies, there are feet and faces everywhere, personal space between the locals has gone right out the window, and we are wedged right at the back of it. After about 30 minutes of the journey the bus stops and everybody piles off into a tatty restaurant for something to eat. We are told nothing, as neither the bus driver nor his right hand man speak any English. Their ways of communicating with us is to point, and wave their hands about like a deaf person with Tourette's. Pushing and grunting also works just as well. Half hour later everybody has wedged themselves back onto the coach and we are cruising all the way down to Hoi Ann……………. or so we think.