Tucker in Asia

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Chuck Norris

Well, I could have used some mad bow staff skills today, actually bow staff defense skills against a little, old, Vietnamese women. The day started off as a nice little Tuesday with a leisurely trip to Saigon. Our bus happened to be a mini bus and the only two passengers in it were Justin and I. Quite comfortable and relaxing with the extra space. Upon arriving in Saigon we set right out on a mission to find habitation. We followed one lady from the tour office where we were dropped off at to her hotel which seemed all right but I cut if short when someone in her family backed his motor bike out of the drive (which coincides with the ground floor of the building) and right into my leg. When I hear a horn I know to move out of the way. Since there was no horn and I had the temerity to stand on the sidewalk in conversation with the hotel owner I was a target. Apparently bikes can hit you at their discretion. Frustrated, we left in search of hotel number two and after a few quick looks we settled in on a place for 7 bucks a night. It seemed clean, there was air-con, private bath, even World Cup football on the satellite TV, a pretty good deal. We basically dropped our bags and then took off for some food. We went back maybe an hour and a half later to have a rest and do some planning. When we sat down on the bed we noticed, luckily, that there were bed bugs everywhere. Neither of us wanted to deal with this so we made the decision to take off in search of a new hotel (number 3). We gathered our bags and walked down stairs. At the desk the man asked what we were doing and we replied that we were switching hotels because of the bed bugs. It went to hell from that. They made a quick offer of another room but since no one uses hot water for washing we assumed that all rooms probably had bed bugs; we were set on leaving. Diplomaticly as possible Justin explained why we were taking off but that did not work for them. They got so, so mad and started demanding that we pay for a night (big deal, right?) but since they would not listen and were demanding money we did not feel right forking over any dinero. We would have gladly paid a small amount if they would have remained civil, this is not the first time we have left a hotel after checking in. Fairly quickly there were lots of hotel folks around (which is just a family) and all were very mad. The old man tried grabbing my arm and I pulled away. The old women spoke no English but I have never see anyone so pissed off. She started charging at us, swinging her arms, and then grabbing a large piece of wood, literally about a 5 foot long 1x1, and started charging and swinging. Mind you this was a 90 pound, 75 years old, 4'10'', frail, old woman; not real sure how to approach that. I made for the door, which was a gate sort of thing but the old man held me back while someone else threw a pad lock over the door. I yelled out into the street at two western passerbys who helped by finding a hotel owner across the street to mediate. Eventually we paid them about 4 U.S. dollars to open the lock for us to exit. The family poured out into the street mad as hell, luckily one of the young daughters had pulled the bow staff away from the old woman. Not real sure what I would have done had I been struck by the bow staff. I mean, an old woman was swinging it, I am not sure what she thinks I would have done had she hit me, little me and I am still twice her size. We found a new hotel a few blocks away and it is much nicer. We inquired about tourist police but there is no such thing. Not much we can do....There is a commonly used travel forum that we are going to post a blurb on advising backpackers not to stay on the entire alley that the hotel is on (there are like 15 hotels in a two block alley); the incident didn't seem to bother any other hotels. If there is one day that I wished I had a travel companion of Chuck Norris it was today. I bet those Texas Ranger moves would have put that lady right back to where she belongs. A close second for travel companion would have been Napoleon Dynamite. I think num-chuck skills would have been advantageous. Justin is sort of a wus and I have a stretched muscle in my groin so a high kick was out of the question. My arms are shorter than the bow staff so I don't think I could have had an effective hit with them. Tonight we are going to practice some moves and skills and work out some defense plans.


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