....menopausal or just bitchy?
22.10.2008 - 25.10.2008 89 °F
First of all, I have two previous entries that I have somehow lost...
I dont know what it is about today. The weather is nice, actually hot and I have actually enjoyed quite a bit of the city today. Every time I turn around today, I am nearly in tears. From the start of the day and trying to find someone to re-charge my cell phone to the end of the day and my travel pillow being lost. In between, there has been a myriad of things that have simply pissed me off. I hope that all of my trip is not this way or I am likely to spend it in a nice hotel room somewhere with my head buried in a book!
Let me share my day with you....
I woke up around 4am and couldn't fall back to sleep. Considered taking a sleeping pill but didn't want to waste away the entire day sleeping, so stayed awake and finally got out of the hotel around 9am.
My first mission of the day was to re-charge my cell phone. I tried to call Trinity this morning (finally got a time when I thought we would both be awake) and found that I was out of minutes. Was quite disappointed, really wanted to talk to her today.
I walked who knows how far and went to at least 5 different phone shops and no one could help me. Finally, I broke down and called 'Ha', my moto-driver from yesterday. I had hoped to avoid hiring him again today because I felt like he over-charged me yesterday. So, Ha was able to help me find another cell phone store and we were able to successfully load money onto my phone. The men asked me how much I wanted to put on (they told me 10, 20 or 40) and I told them $40 usd. When they were done, they told me that they needed $10 more!! They had me listen to the message stating how much $$ was on my account but it was in dong and I had no idea....I was pissed and gave them another $10. Had Ha take me to the 'end' of the walking tour from my Lonely Planet book and drop me off. He was quite disappointed that I didn't want him to wait for me. I paid him for his time and told him thank you. I find that it is very difficult for me to tell the people here 'NO' when I know that I should. I don't have a problem with it at home but for whatever reason, I find it difficult here. I guess part of it is that I don't want to give a bad impression of people from the US.
As well as needing to re-charge my phone I also needed to get some cash changed. Before I called 'Ha' and as I was searching out a place to charge my phone, I all the while was also looking for a jewelry store in order to exchange some cash. In Vietnam (I can only speak for Saigon right now), the moto-bikes and cyclo's are all over the place and they hassle you every minute of the day to take a ride. They will all say 'hello' and as soon as you respond, they will hassle you for a ride. I was so sick and tired of this....two options 1. be friendly and say hello, only to be hassled for the next 20 minutes or 2. be rude and stick up your nose and ignore them. I choose the former and therefore was hassled a LOT!! Finally, I broke down and got a cyclo and asked him to take me to the closest jewelry store to exchange some cash. I asked him how much this would cost and he informed me that 100,000 dong (about $7) First, this is way too much for what should have been a 5-10 min trip and second, he proceeded to cart me to some silly pagoda. It is difficult to not be rude but I just wanted to go and get some cash....so, at the pagoda of course...they want more of my money!! Told them that they needed to get it from my driver I didn't ask to come here.
Oh!! The pagoda from this morning...almost forgot! They let me walk right in and I looked around and on my way out they wanted $200,000 dong I was pissed!! Of course, I hadn't exchanged any money yet and so I tried to pay them with usd (didn't feel right not paying) So, they wanted to give me 50,000 dong back from a $20 usd!! btw $20 usd is about 320,000 dong. I just shook my head and told them more...finally got $100,000 out of them but still they screwed me! Guess I have 'sucker' written on my face today...
So, my 5-10 minute trip to the jewelry store ended up taking nearly an hour. After I exchanged my cash, I went to the cyclo driver and gave him his $100,000 dong. Told him thank you and started walking. He yells at me....$200!! I wanted to tell him to f**k off, but instead I simply reminded him that we agreed on $100 and walked away.
My lunch excursion today was just as much of a hassle....first, I wanted rice and asked for rice and pointed to a place with RICE!! What did I get....frekin NOODLES!! I didn't want noodles....I wanted rice! Tried to get it fixed but it wasn't going to happen, so I ate it....or some of it. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't rice either!! Then I went to pay and guess what....the price changed from what was written on the menu board hanging above the counter. The sign said clearly 20 and the lady asked for 32!! Granted, this is actually only about $0.75 difference in usd but it still pissed me off.
In spite of all of this, i was able to see a good part of the city (and I have the blisters to prove it). Although quite ugly in most places, there are a few oasises of beauty. I did take some pictures today so I will try to get some posted soon.
Mike and Kim made it in last night and it was such a relief to see them. They let me babble and complain and share my day as we drank a few beer. I am looking forward to heading to Mui Ne today and hopefully a little quieter area.
ps Hopefully I will find the two previous posts and get them online.