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Monday, January 7, 2013

My Life in Vietnam part 9: Peak of Paranoia 2


My thought in taking a taxi was that no one could force me into an accident. I only had 2 concerns at this point: personal safety and finishing my last class. Part of insuring my safety was taking the out of place objects with me in my backpack to class. This was a strange class.

Instead of having a normal class with my student Thao, I talked to her for 3 hours about all the things that were going on in my life. I showed her the extra phone charger, sim cards, uv light, tags that only showed up under uv light, etc.  For the most part she was understanding and helped me stay calm. About 2 hours into the class, her phone rang and she stepped out to take the call.

When she came back, she said "there are things I want to tell you and I wish I could help you, but my English is not good enough.  Do you need money? Can I give you money?"  There was something in the tone of her voice that made me nervous. Really fucking nervous. I declined her offer of money because I felt like why would I take money from her that I did not earn.

Eventually we said our goodbyes and I got in a taxi. The taxi with the driver I mentioned in my last note. I was used to driving my motorbike and being very aware of my surroundings at this point. From the back seat of a taxi, I was even more aware. I had time time look at everything. There were two guys on a motorbike next to the taxi and they were carrying long metal pipes. Probably for construction of some sort, but also the right length to grab and beat the shit out of someone with. In front of them was a man, his wife, and a small child on another motorbike.  Behind the taxi were tons of other motorbikes, but a few were driven by people that I recognized from other staged almost incidents. Each bike was carrying "tools or supplies" of some sort that would be quite useful in a riot. . .

The motorbike with the family pulled in front of the taxi and was almost hit. I lost shit and yelled for the driver to stop. No accident. This was when I forced him to change directions and get on the highway.

Skip ahead to the map incident. . . The second time that I lost my temper in Vietnam - I am yelling "turn the fuck around. look at the road. what are you doing? stop the  car. stop the car! stop the fucking car!"

I looked at the meter and paid the fair and got out of the taxi with my bag, evidence, and started walking. We were still on the highway, but there was an intersection close by and I felt safer on foot.  After making it to the intersection I walked under the bridge and onto a side road that lead to Trung Hung Dao street. The people on the motorbikes slowly drove by me and made extended eye contact.  All I could do was sit down on the stoop of a building and light a cig and wonder what was happening to me.

Eventually I took the "evidence" out of my bag, made eye contact with one of the drivers and then I obviously placed everything on top of an electrical transformer on the side of the road. I started walking. He turned around, went back to the transformer and collected everything. I was only 2 km from my hotel, so I started the walk home.
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