It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye, or in my case her wallet.
In fact I didn’t lose it, it just went missing for a heart stopping 15 – 20 minutes. I managed the flights via Singapore (25 minutes between planes and Terminal 1 to Terminal 3), customs, immigration and then I hit the humidity … standing alone under column 11 waiting for my assured lift to Bon Bon Residences. Experience has taught me, when in doubt do nothing in Asia, just wait … and for someone with my patience level that is a lesson in itself. But wait I did, and before long Vo and friend turned up with helping hands and a cold bottle of water.
Although I had been in Saigon previously, there is something about the night light and traffic that confuses the senses. We drove for what seemed a relatively short amount of time ( mid year school break here for 8 weeks – this town in quiet) and I was tucked up in my small room in no time, Lemon Tea Room – mezzanine level with a full kitchen just outside my bedroom door. Walking everywhere is the only way to familiarise yourself with your surroundings. So walk I did, heat, dust, rain, wind and everything in between. It can be challenging especially on your own. No one to share the stories, experience and hold your bag whilst you go the loo. You become very self sufficient and very aware of your surroundings. Yes I got lost, hopelessly lost at one point, I was dehydrated and my feet were sore. I found a cafe, sat down and watched the weather and the sun and through a process of elimination found my way back to the residences. I might add here that I have a photographic memory when it comes to direction and I know exactly where I am mostly and which route I took to get there. So for this to happen to me is a rarity. Still, as always in Asia, don’t panic and just wait. All will be revealed.
Mostly Vietnam I find is a safe city – not withstanding bike grabs, pick pockets in crowds the usual stuff – never have I felt uncomfortable until this week when I encountered a man who just would not let me out of his sight and not in a good way. I eventually lost him by standing up, looking him in the eye and daring him to proceed any further. He lost interest and I got lost quick smart. Thankful for a busy food market.
Back to the lost wallet – seven days in and I was pleased with my progress, rolled oats found, powdered Australian Milk found, bananas, tofu and noodles found and purchased at open market – tick tick tick. So on day 7 with rolled oats and banana in hand I headed to the rooftop to have my breakfast whilst watching the elephants. I was moving to a friend’s apartment today in District 1 for the weekend. The apartment I am eventually to take over when she relocates to Ireland.
That 30 minutes I was away from my room it had been cleaned, linen changed, re stocked and tidied. I arrived back at the door to meet lovely staff members leaving my room. I had all my belongings on the bed to be packed for the weekend including my green leather travel wallet and cash and credit card. Other money and cards in safe – never keep it all together. My wallet was missing. I searched high and low, every pocket, every bag but I knew it had gone. I didn’t jump to conclusions,It had to be in the building, still I thought, oh FFS … not week one!
I raced to reception and told them and within minutes there were 3 people at the door of my room including “G -Jason” who had cleaned my room looking more than a little worried. “Miss Miss check toiletry bag”. The wallet had been put carefully in my toiletry bag then packed into the over night suitcase and tucked under the desk. Yes it was there. I nearly slapped him, but relief and some slap stick activity on my behalf and the situation was diffused. Note to self: Don’t leave anything on the bed you don’t want packed away.
So the first week in I have walked the city centre and out to my area at Ward 19 – it’s a bit quieter out here by the river and the Zoo, mostly Japanese expats and hence the food also has a wide variety of Ramen noodle and some very good Japanese cafes. The early morning Thai Chi and early evening aerobic classes on the river bank and long boats arriving dropping off coconuts, makes it an idealic location to start out. Bon Bon Residences have made me feel very at home.