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Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Life in Vietnam part 3: Imagine this.


Imagine if your every move was monitored. Imagine if you went out with a mixed group of friends and was out late partying. Imagine if you had to work the next day but you reallly did not get much sleep. Imagine ifyou were tired and driving a motorbike in a city with 4 million motorbikes.

Now imagine if one of your friends really wasn't a friend. And she asked "when do you work tomorrow? Where?"
 Now imagine if on the way to work, people on motorbikes suddenly turned in front of you or made sudden and unnatural stops. Tired foreigner who was out all night gets into an accident. Foreigners have lots of money and will be forced to give it to you rather than deal with the police.

Now stop imagining and let me say that this happened to me on more than one occasion. Except rather than get in an accident I quickly squeezed the brakes on my motorbike and slid to the ground. Better to scratch myself up than to hurt someone else. 
 When that didn't work; arranged accidents, the stakes got higher. Not just a person on a motorbike, but a family with kids. Eventually I began driving so slowly that it was impossible to be in an incident.

I am skipping some details now, because I want to get to my leaving vietnam. But one incident you should know about.  I was aware that this was happening because I am good at remembering faces, especially eyes, shoes, ankles, and body types. When on a motorbike in vietnam, this is all that is really distinguishable anyway.

I took a taxi to work about a week before I left VIetnam. On the ride back, the taxi driver - while driving - pulled out a map and turned around to ask me where to go. Yes, he was still moving, yes a motorbike pulled in front of him with a family on it. I yelled "turn the fuck around. Look where you are going."
My heart was racing. We came to a stop, I reached in my wallet and paid the fare on the meter and got out. i walked the last 2 km home.  
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  • Danielle Fitzpatrick Marcus, I am intrigued and speechless and feeling very naive. It honestly sounds like something from a movie. Can't wait til you are home safe and sound. 
  • Marcus L. Williams I am writing this in parts because each piece is a little different and the layers are what led me to the situation I found myself in last week. Also, while I am leaving out some detail, I plan to write it all again when I am back in the states. I think anyone traveling should be aware of some of the mistakes I made so they don't make the same.
  • Marcus L. Williams I know. I keep wanting to call bullshit on myself. But I cannot be any more serious.
  • Danielle Fitzpatrick Marcus I've known you since I was about 16. I know you're not a bullshitter. You're probably one of the most easy-going folks I've ever met, so it's insane to me that this happened to you.
  • Kelly Reddecliff Be careful. I didn't feel very good about some of the people I met in Bangkok. Will feel better once you are on the plane. Stay safe.
  • Randy Kim Oh my goodness....I am left very speechless...just stunned. Thanks for sharing your story. I've ALWAYS admired the way you can make us visualize your story. I am glad that there are other people who are not hurt as a result, especially kids.
  • Marcus L. Williams That's the saddest part. Putting kids in harms way in order to extract money from foreigners. Maybe people need money for a cause : there are still two vietnams. Politicallyi side with so many of the ones who want a fair chance at life. The see the tou...See More
  • Marcus L. Williams If someone would have said "help me teach these people because they can bring about an end to the corruption, bribery, and poverty, I would have taken the risk.
  • Sean Doyle I feel as if I have been traumatized reading your storiesMarcus L. Williams so I can only imagine how you must feel. I have no idea how you ended up in this situation but am glad you have survived your struggles. Stay safe old friend and things will improve.
  • Marcus L. Williams I am about to go write the next chapter. Unlike what I have shared so far, I will speculate as to why me.
  • Brett Biondi crazy that you are about to leave SE asia now, it's exactly a year ago today when I left my travels and vietnam. a whole year later and you're about to go, too bad you had to leave on a sour note but it must have been an incredible time all in all. coming home is quite a transition which is surprising. might be quite a cultural shock for you after 3 years. enjoy the rest of your time and good luck at home.
  • Randy Kim Marcus, you should also getting your stories published too, if you haven't done so already. You really bring such an intimate, informative way of introducing something taht no one would not have imagined. I think many people really deserve to know the experience you had.
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