Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Day two in Sài Gòn catching up with Ratbag

A good night's sleep, but I woke up at 5am when it was still dark! I met Mai for breakfast again and this time we had Hư tiếu..absolutely delicious!

I dropped by her company one more time, and she gave me some of the bi-lingual magazines they are producing for people studying either English or Vietnamese...anyone who wants to work hard ...

A group photo with Mai and her co-workers, and it was time to say good-bye. Now we have renewed our acquaintance, we will keep in touch via facebook and makes it so easy.

I checked out of the Hotel and caught a taxi across the city to visit Giang (Ratbag) at ASC Travel. It was great to sit and chat with him for a couple of hours - till he had to go to an appointment. He is still working hard, always looking to improve his life, so he, too, was very interested to hear about my business opportunity.

I hope that next year he will be booking a trip to Cambodia for Katie and me while we are over here...he has all the contacts for a great trip.

Giang gave me directions to his favourite place for lunch, a 10 minute walk away. I found it OK and enjoyed a bowl of cháo (rice porridge).  I planned to go for a walk and wander around for a few hours before getting a taxi to the airport, but a tropical storm rolled in. I took refuge in the bakery cafe next door to ASC Travel and watched the deluge for over an hour.

Then the blue skies returned.

But by then I wasn't excited about walking through the puddles and there wasn't time to check out the markets or anything, so I collected my bags from Giang's work and went to the airport early.

My flight was very comfortable...I was upgraded to business class! Plenty of room. We landed in Hà Nội at 8pm. A friendly man sitting near me kindly offered to help me find a taxi to drive me to Hải Phòng, and he negotiated a fair price (about half what it would have cost to change flights), helped me load by very heavy luggage, and waved me on my way. My driver couldn't speak English, so I don't know how I would have managed without his help. I have no doubt it would have cost me more...

Half way here, we were stopped by police carrying guns. They waved us over, then walked my driver out of earshot, and behind another policeman who stood guard and blocked my view, and demanded payment of 500.000 dong. That would have been most of his profits for the night. It's criminal, that the men employed to protect the citizens here are among the biggest thieves. No wonder most people despise and distrust the police. Later, when I paid him my fare, he was very happy when I also went halves on the bribe.

We got lost a couple of times, but arrived safely a bit after 10:30pm, and Hiếu was here, waiting to welcome me!!!  What a wonderful surprise...coming home...

Ủy showed me up to a room on the 3rd floor (just for tonight). I'll move to a double room on the 4th floor tomorrow.  So here I am, safe and sound, excited to be back in Hải Phòng, my second home.


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