Australia doesn’t have GRAB and Vietnam no longer has UBER. Another thing I never did in Australia was use an Uber. Don’t really no why, no justification for it really. Maybe because I lived across the road from a pub.
So for me to download the App and start using GRAB here in Saigon was a big thing. I couldn’t fight it any longer it’s just how things work here. So far so good. Getting the SIM card for my mobile was no easy feat, everyone kept saying “you just go and buy a SIM card” yeah, ah no. Vinaphone was very helpful and whilst I waited in air-conditioned comfort they got me sorted and gave me the best number ever …01234 … something to be said for keeping things fun and not stressing out about anything. As it isn’t going to help.
So as I become proficient at GRAB and learning basic directions in Vietnamese I slowly learn the city and now have a rough idea of where I am ( in my area or Ward 19) and District 1. Thanks to previous trips I can and have landmarks that I can rely on to get me out of trouble. Point in case yesterday, lost, hopelessly lost even with google maps. Trying to cross four roads at a major roundabout. In the end I used the sun and stumbled across a park I recognised. I had had really good Pho near here with Hero and I recalled a story he told me. In this large public park there are a group of men ( guessing they are African American) prey on western women – who are obviously travelling solo. Yes they found me – they didn’t know it but I had their number way before the “hit”. I left the park and went to a hotel I had stayed at previously, Gia Vien. Found a toilet and then made my way across the lane to a restaurant for lunch. Wasn’t long before said “man” looking like a tourist wandering aimlessly finds me and pulls up a seat next to me “can I join you?”
Looked him fair in the eye and said “no” you can’t. That didn’t deter him so I pulled out my phone and loaded the GRAB app and booked a car. It turned up in 60 seconds and once in the car the driver locked the doors. The driver knew what was going on and got me safely to my next destination Bamboo Bar to meet a friend. I feel safer in this city than parts of home to be honest. The people are kind and caring and even the domestic flights are an experience in themselves.