Bleh. I’ve officially had my first encounter with the infamous Asian organised crime syndicates. On Wednesday night I went out with Manon, a French buddy of Jan’s ex-girlfriend Dre, who is volunteering at an orphanage for two weeks here in the city (she leaves tomorrow). Her English friend Lois who was also volunteering left the Thursday so it was a bit of a farewell for her. It was quite late at night, or early in the morning, depending from which day you look at it, and the orphanage crew jumped in a taxi. I’m about to hail one when a motorbike taxi, xe om in Vietnamese, offers his services. I think yeah why not it’s cheaper than a taxi and the fresh air would do me good.
So we’re zooming through the empty streets, head whirling, when two girls drive up next to us. The one starts offering her and her friends’ services: “Massage, two ladies, very good.” Obviously, being the gentleman that I am, I decline. They started offering more profusely and I start declining more profusely, first in English then Vietnamese then Afrikaans. Obviously they didn’t get the message because the xe om stops and the one chick jumps on the back of our motorbike. Now there’s three of us and she starts copping a feel and I’m like “Hell no lady, I just want to get home and pass out.” I grab the motorbike dude by the shoulder and squeeze it quite hard so he gets the massage...erm message. Finally he stops and the chick jumps off, pissed off, and back on her buddies bike and they speed off. This is when I realise the little skank left me sans my wallet. I grab the motorbike dude again and tell him to follow the trail of short skirts and cheap perfume blowing in the wind.
So now we’re in full bike chase mode, the tequila is coursing through my veins and this guy must have realised I wasn’t joking because he was speeding like a demon. His Honda Dream could have beaten Valentino Rossi at this time. We catch up with the chicks and they throw my wallet in the road. This is when I realise the damn motorbike dude was in on it as he sped off as soon as I jumped off to pick it up. Luckily they only took my money (a few hundred thousand Dong) and left my cards and identification stuff.
Yeah well, you live you learn I guess. As James emailed me, incidents like these make you lose faith in then human race and distrust everyone and I must admit I felt a tinge of anger, but mostly at myself for allowing the situation to occur. I’m still wondering if it was just karma biting me in the ass. So much so that I went to go help out for an hour or so with the kids at the orphanage and take some photos to try and get my karma back out of the red or something in that line. I mean, it’s strangely ironic that I travel half way across the world from crime-riddled South Africa just to get jumped in Nam. Well, as I said with our flooded-house incident, every story has a moral. Damn tequila...