This is Ryo. Met him on the bus from Phnom Penh to Saigon. Clutched in his hands was a travel guide in Japanese. He was on his own, traveling from Cambodia to Vietnam then to Laos and Thailand. No definite plans but just those destinations in mind.
Asked if he had a place to stay in Saigon, he answered in the negative. A suggestion to check out the backpackers' area was thrown his way, he followed along. When we got to Y Nhi Guesthouse, where we had booked our rooms, it was already full. We casually mentioned he could room with us if he wanted to, thinking he'd decline since he had only met us. And that's how we adopted a fellow traveler for one night.
No fuss, Ryo tagged along to wherever it was we chose to eat. From a pho restaurant for dinner (where we jokingly told him to eat whatever was on his plate and him being very obedient, did so, including the chilies, which made him sweat dollops and turn crimson, and us apologizing for such advice), to tearing off pieces from a banh mi bought from the street to be shared with three other friends, and to eating bun xao along the alley early in the morning.
He had some money exchanged to dong while we were waiting for our dinner. When he came back he showed us the money, asking in his broken English if the amount is correct. Finding out he had been duped, one of our friends accompanied him back to wherever it is he was shortchanged, retrieved his dollars and exchanged it for the right amount from a more trustworthy money changer.
In the morning, we parted ways as we boarded the bus to Mui Ne and him with his map, ready to hit the streets of Saigon before flying off to Hue in the evening.
Funny how he easily trusted us and us, him.
Veni, Vidi, (South) Vietnam:
What's in a (Business) Name? Vietnam
Adopting a Fellow Traveler (you're here!)
From Concrete City to Sand Town
From Sand Town to the Highlands
Would You Call Us Lucky or Unlucky?
Vietnom Nom Nom
Ding Dong, Dong's All Gone