Whenever we visit a place, we remember the tourist places but also remember the incidents and the people we met. These incidents and people create short stories which make the whole experience memorable. There were couple of such occasions which were not very dramatic but definitely stand out when I look back at my trip. Hope I am able to paint the picture which I wanted to.
1. The Shoe Polish Scam : I had read about this scam before I visited Vietnam but witnessed one victim right in front of my eyes. For executing this scam, there will be a person who will request you very humbly for polishing your shoes and later on demand too much money. There was a couple from Canada who were on the same day tour as me and we were waiting for the bus to come. One young man came towards us and offered shoe cleaning services. I was talking with this couple and the guy accepted the service. Meanwhile, I started talking with other travelers. Once shoe cleaning was done, I just casually asked how much he charged and to my utter surprise the Canadian guy replied with a sad voice 10 $. He said he didn’t fix the price beforehand and after shoe cleaning was done, he had to pay the price. I couldn’t believe what just happened besides me in 5 minutes. A 10 $ note in 5 minutes was not a bad start for shoe cleaner at all :).
2. Empty Fuel Tank : For visiting Ba Na Hills from Da Nang city I rented a motorbike along with my friend and had a comfortable journey till the hills. On our way back to city, we forgot to check the fuel level and our bike stopped in between. Luckily we were in village and not in some remote area but the problem was no one around could understand English. There was no sign of any petrol pump near by and we didn’t know how to seek help. Finally a lady came out from a house and showed us in sign language that there is a place nearby where we can get some petrol. We had to trust our understanding of her message and we dragged our bike for around 100 meters and saw a roadside stall which seemed like selling sugarcane juice but was actually selling petrol. We bought the pricey petrol from there which would last till next petrol pump and now the bike was not starting :). Villagers nearby were smiling at us and we had no other choice than to return the smiles. Finally someone came for rescue and helped us start the bike. This small token of help was worth huge in that situation. These 15 minutes were the second highlight of the day after RoadBlock incident in morning.
3. Funny Couple from Siberia : On my day trip to Mekong Delta, we had a couple from Siberia in our group. They were very funny and we all were enjoying fruits served during breaks. The fruits were served with some pepper kind of spicy add on for better taste. I being an Indian was accustomed to such spices but still found it a bit extra spicy. The couple was hesitant to try it but after they saw everyone, they decided to give it a try. The girl first tasted it and it was very spicy for her. We all sensed it and before we could say anything, the guy asked how is it. The mischievous part of her instantly came alive and she took the next piece of guava, covered it with layers of spice and handed it over to the guy. Now we all were looking at his face for a super reaction. I wish I was a good painter and picture of his face would have become an instant comic hit. He managed to smile but couldn’t hide what was happening inside his mouth. It took two glasses of water and some honey to restore him to earlier state.
4. Buying a Sim Card : This is again from Da Nang where we were buying a SIM card from a local store and the owner didn’t understand an iota of english except the word SIM :). So after hearing the word SIM, she handed over the SIM card from 2-3 companies and we chose one based on a paper displaying call rates. We placed the SIM in phone and oops, it didn’t work. Now we tried to explain in sign language that it’s not working and it took her 2-3 minutes to understand the problem. We offered to return it back but she couldn’t figure out what we were trying to say. One of the nearby shopkeeper was called and it was a funny situation where each one of us were trying to explain other person the situation and didn’t know what was being communicated :). Finally as solution to most of the technical problem is system re start, we gave it a try and it worked :). We said goodbye to them with few more lessons in sign language :).
Travel always creates stories like these and every time a different one. Do you have any interesting story to share ?