Trying to get to Saigon
My hotel was offering 4 dollar rides to Danang, from where my flight to Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, was going to leave. Rides straight to the airport were going for 12 USD. Having the time, I decided to take public transport which, with two motorbike rides and a bus ride, from hotel to airport, came in at under 3 USD. Then, my flight turned out to delayed by five hours. Indeed, if I would have taken a train on the previous night, arrival in Saigon would have been around the same time.
On the Open Tour bus from Hue to Hoi An, the only locals where the driver and a friend of his. On the bus from Hoi An to Danang, I was the only foreigner.
In the gloomy rain, Danang, though with a nicely renovated riverfront, seems to be a wholly uninteresting city, the third largest in Vietnam, but with no tourism industry to speak of. On the other hand, that would probably mean a much more authentic experience.
I hung around a more upmarket cafe close to the airport. Matthew Broderick was in some dinosaur movie on TV, a few small rats ran around in a corner and I ordered one of the 15 different types of yoghurt on the menu.
In Danang’s departure lounge, I talked with a Dutch couple which, after listening to them for a few minutes, I suspected were from Delft. Not disappointed in my assessment, we shared a taxi from Saigon airport to the town’s backpacker’s ghetto, where I had booked my hotel. Afterwards, we ended up going out for dinner and drinks, where we had to fend off several Vietnamese, in the ghetto’s restaurants and bars, trying to scam us in every way, overcharging being the least of our worries.
Clearly, though, we were having a good enough time, as I got to bed at 4:30 in the morning. At some late point, Anne, the girl, stopped talking. This, given her track record, was serious cause for concern and probably a sign we had to call it a day.
Back in my hotel, in the bathroom, a lizard quickly scuttled away after I turned on the light, possibly trying to hide from the huge cockroach lounging in the corner. The door between my room and bathroom is so thin, if I leave the light on in the bathroom, the door glows orange.
Walking back to the hotel, the nearby market had already opened up, the first customers doing their shopping.