Saigon Diary: Everything is possible in Vietnam…

Aline Gouger for ZUPAdream

One evening, after work, I decided to go straight to the bar to enjoy ‘l’apéro’ (THE holy moment in France) with two friends of mine (and my laptop) because the restaurant was not on the way to my home. Like all ‘apéro’ it starts with one glass and it ends…we don’t really know! This one was one with a lot of alcohol, little food and also live music! The perfect alchemy for a good evening: we danced, chatted with locals, just had fun! I assume you guess what happened next…

The story really starts the next morning…when my roommates woke me up (this never happens) and I discovered first that I’m late, second that it doesn’t really matter because  I don’t have my laptop anymore to work! Aaaarrgghh!!!

After a brief brainstorming with my friend, we both agreed that I might have forgotten my laptop on the seat at the restaurant and that it should be there. It wasn’t. Of course. Thus the situation turned from a lost to a robbery. Nice! Next I had to declare a robbery to the police station without having any clues or witnesses to confirm my declaration. Except the owner of the restaurant who was really delighted to explain that I drank 7 Caipirina (why did she count?) and danced all the time without keeping an eye on my stuff. Well, it was true but my company didn’t have to know all the detail (I needed a declaration just for my company). I didn’t expect to have my laptop back (we are in Vietnam!). Well, after she told her story, the owner also told me that I could check the camera in the restaurant! Yeah fun let’s do that!

We watched the video…and I could perfectly see myself going out the restaurant carrying my laptop. Oops…We also see me having trouble riding the bicycle to go back home. EUREKA! I took a *xe om to come back!!

I wasted all my day trying to figure out what happened with my laptop and thought about something else. I tried my last chance to get it back and went to the street where I took the ‘xe om’.

And here is the Vietnam I wanted to experience: The ‘xe om’ recognized me and welcomed me with a big kind smile and said: “Yesterday I waited in front of your home for an hour expecting you’ll come out to take your laptop back! You didn’t, so I came back in the morning, but I didn’t see you either! I went to your office (I guess I talked a lot about myself during our ride J) you weren’t there (eh yeah I was at the police station)! I kept your laptop, don’t worry!’’

Waaaaooouuuhhh!!! Is it possible?!!?? I hardly believed what was going on: In Vietnam, a ‘xe om’, who I didn’t even pay the proper price that we negotiated (I didn’t check my wallet before negotiating and Caipirinas cost a lot), looked for me a half-day to give me my laptop back! Unbelievable!

PS : he is now my official ‘xe om’ and we keep in touch to have vodka sometime : “I’ll take care of your stuff’’ he said to me…;-)

[*xe om is VNese for ‘Mototaxi’, a man (never seen a woman) driving you around town for negotiable prices. ‘Xe Om’s are usually not so well-off. I once took one that told me how he had worked for years without any holidays to have enough money to send his kids to school.]

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