Sunday, October 14, 2007

Riding Shotgun in Saigon

Sometimes I'm just happy to make it from Point A to Point B.

Got on a moto to go grab a bit to eat before heading to the newsroom. I've used this driver before because he's near my hotel. But tonight he was seeing three roads instead of one. Not sure what's in that green tea he's drinking, but it's not helpful.

After about two blocks he pulls over and I think "thank you, beloved Jesus. I owe you one for showing up so soon after I called." I was preparing to get off, but the driver only wanted to check the address I'd given him. Again when he starts up, he's wobbly.

That's it. I point him to pull over, and he does. I hand him my 10,000 dong, smile and pat him on the back. "Thanks!" I say, and walk away.

He's ripped, but not so ripped that he can't figure out that he didn't bring me where I wanted to go. And now I've offended his honor. Not only does he want to give me my money back, but he wants me to get back on the motorbike.

Keep the money, I say, I'm really happy walking tonight.

That doesn't work, and he follows me up on the sidewalk with his motorbike (not unusual). I cross to the other side (NOT easy. See earlier entries), but he's undeterred.


It ends with him forcing the money back on me, a couple more minutes of me walking and him riding alongside me on his motorbike. When we come upon a couple of cops he disappears.

And all I wanted to do was get some dinner.

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