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Monday, January 7, 2013

My Life in Vietnam part 9: Peak of Paranoia


Some parts of this story are out of order and I am intentionally skipping some parts because I don't want to think about them or don't want it on facebook.  That being said, let me reorder.

I packed my bags at the hotel and also packed "evidence." 

During the mad dash around my hotel room I found a few things that I thought were important proof. 
  1. My phone came with 2 phone chargers. One was a usb that connected to my laptop and the other to a power outlet. I found a third charger. (my speculation at the time was that this charger was another way of accessing data on my phone/pc. It was the type of charger that connects to the power outlet and also to the computer. The USB wire could be removed from the base.
  2. USB speakers. The seal around the woofer of the usb speakers had been broken and crudely resealed with glue. I started to take it apart and look inside but as you can imagine, my mind was racing at this point. I took a picture with my phone and put the speakers in a bag of things I planned to leave at the hotel.
  3. Old hard drive. I wrote down the serial number, took a photo, and also put it in the "leave behind" bag. (again, I had already tossed this harddrive once before after being told by the computer repair store that my music and photos from the last 3 years were damaged and not capable of being restored.)
  4. The uv pen light - took it with me
  5. scan bar code from fake laptop battery - took with me
  6. toiletries - left behind. (anything that could be opened and closed I left behind partly because I was not quite sure what the angle was. Am I smuggling data, drugs, being poisoned, going to be killed in my sleep and made to look like a drug overdose, etc)
  7. my clothes - took with me but went through pockets, seams, etc. Found 3 sim cards from my travels but the phone numbers on the sim cards did not match the phone numbers that were assigned to the phone when I inserted the cards (are this spoofed, hacked, etc) I did try to access the data on them but they were encrypted. took the sim cards with me.
I went downstairs, gave them the key to my room, got on my motorbike and left. I ended up getting a room at Hotel 68 on the corner of Bui Vien and the ally that runs paralled to De Tham.  This was morning.  I had one more class left to teach and then it was time to go. As you can imagine, I was extremely paranoid at this point. I did not feel safe driving or even being in Saigon. But I had a class to teach and had to deal with that committment. I sold my motorbike and decided I would take a taxi to my last class.

In a previous post I wrote about the taxi driver who turned back to me while holding a map and asking were I wanted to go. This was on the highway home from this last class. And, he did not not bother to stop the taxi.  We were in motion but both of his hands were on the map. I was sitting in the back seat and he was looking back at me.  What I did not write about before is what I noticed going on around me in the taxi-
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