Streetwise in Vietnam
At the age of 32 I kinda thought I was really streetwise and at ‘one’ with surroundings! I have lived in various cities around the world and have learnt how to conduct myself as a adult – or so I thought!
So when my best friend and I decided enough was enough of the boring 9 to 5 lifestyle and with the sale of my house so I had some money behind me we decided to go travelling… It was and still is one of the best decisions of my life… but stupidity got me into a situation that so easily could have been avoided. I have learnt from it, the hard way but I have definitely learnt from it.
We arrive in Vietnam, neither of us had been to Asia for years and years
We arrive in Vietnam, neither of us had been to Asia for years and years (I went as a child) and I tell you it’s soooo exciting, EVERYTHING is different, the food, the people, the smells the heat alone is enough to dumbfound and totally excite you! We find a nice hotel, on the cheap side but its ours, we decide that tonight is going to be our big night out, defiantly go out to eat food that the locals eat and defiantly drink too much alcohol, maybe go dancing, basically just totally live it up and feel FREE (I think that’s one of the best feelings that comes with travelling).
In a lot of Asian cities they have learnt to totally capitalise on the foreign tourist market, one of these ways is by serving you what’s called a ‘bucket’. It is a VERY strong mixture of local Rum, Coke a cola and local Red bull. The Asian red bull is not allowed to be sold in Europe, it is too strong and I believe from what I saw in Asia is it is additive.
So, two ‘bucket’s’ in and we are really quite drunk but natural happiness is not letting us cloud the issue that we should slow down and take it easy – we were having too much fun! We did not eat any food. Drinking tends to do that to you, you lose your appetite and that’s that – it’s all about fun fun fun. We find a nightclub, right on the beach, truly a beautiful setting and there are lots of Westerners and local Vietnamese people there all having fun… or so I thought.
We danced away until the early hours still drinking the entire time and then it comes for us to leave… we set off across the beach, laughing and giggling like two teenagers but we both feel really happy and excited about our adventures to come… we cross a main road and a tuk tuk driver asks if we want a lift, we say no as our hotel is a 5min walk from where we are at that exact time, he drives off and we are the only people I can see, I felt safe.
The next thing I know there is a group of about 8 ‘ladyboys’ coming towards us, they are laughing and they just sound like a group of people having fun… except they are not – they are at work – and we are there work. They completely surround us, all you can feel are hands EVERYWHERE, They were laughing and joking so at that point it did not feel threatening… it just felt a bit wrong. Then my best friend started saying my name, again and again… .then she properly started shouting my name and I could hear the utter fear in her voice, I then went mental as they had separated us and I knew I had to get next to her again, there was lots of pushing and shoving and I shouted at them like you would never believe! (Did not know how much fear makes you rush with adrenaline) so I got next to her and was shoving the lady boys away from us, she then told me they were trying to mug her… the obscenities that came out of my mouth do not need to be repeated but I am sure you can imagine what I was saying.
They pushed and shoved back but then they did eventually leave us – we RAN back to our hotel and sat and shook for quite a while, making sure all our doors were locked etc we eventually after lots of talking and trying to reassure each other went to sleep. The next morning we were still really shaken. I picked up a travel guide to the area which had been with me since we decided to go… It clearly states that women, un-occupied by men should NEVER walk home alone in that town as the lady boys are renowned to try to mug you and it can turn violent and has turned violent in the past. It turns out they are already watching you in the nightclubs to see when you are going to leave so it was no coincidence they were waiting for us.
How could we of been so stupid. It was there in black and white for us. We had the travel guide, we just had no sense! Travelling has always and will always be a part of my life, it’s inspiring and amazing and so much fun but my advice to anyone would be – READ YOUR TRAVEL GUIDE, they are written for a reason, they are there to help you and to try and make you travels safe. If we had read that we would of got in the tuk tuk, it would’ve cost us about £1.50 to get home and to get home safe, I would say that was £1.50 well spent, wouldn’t you?
Travel is the most exciting thing to do and we are entitled to do it… please travel safe.