Saturday, October 6, 2012

Would You Call Us Lucky or Unlucky?

The unlucky ones: Midway thru our trip, while checking out Da Lat's night market, my friend lost all her money. (No) thanks to a pickpocket. We went back to the scene of the crime and people would just smile or shrug their shoulders. Asking random people where the police station is we got a handful of headshakes, some "no English", and a couple backs turned. We were helped by a Vietnamese guy who knew some English. He took us to the police station and assumed the role of translator. It was all jotted down on the police record but all hopes dashed of getting any of it back. That was our first night in Da Lat. It was also our last. We packed up, ready to leave Da Lat first thing in the morning.

Unlucky night
The lucky ones: Teo, who helped me (via Couchsurfing) when I was plotting out this Vietnam trip, upon learning of that unfortunate event offered for us to stay at his family's house in Duc Trong, some 30 kilometers south of Da Lat.

The unlucky ones: The morning after, with all our bags packed, we called a taxi to take us from the hotel in Da Lat to Duc Trong. The taxi driver asked for 500,000 VND (about a thousand Philippine pesos). Ow. Too expensive.

The lucky ones: Teo called up a taxi company and arranged for it to pick us up and take us to Duc Trong for 200,000 VND. When we got on the cab, the driver turned on the meter. It was up to almost 500,000 VND when we got to our destination. We handed him our money and was pleasantly surprised when he took only 200,000 VND, the amount him and Teo had agreed on. Thank you Teo. Thank you Mr Cab Driver.

The lucky ones: During our stay in Duc Trong, Teo and his friends, Gon and Ken, loaded us on their motorcycles and we went around town, zipped along the highway, even back to Da Lat to see some more of what it has to offer: Crémaillère, Crazy House, and Prenn Falls.

 Zipping along the highway (Photo by R Abastas)

The unlucky ones: On the second night, as we were heading home to Teo's, one of the three motorcycles we were on got a flat tire about a kilometer out of the city limits. We all walked back to the city to look for a vulcanizing shop only to find out the repairman was out. We all waited at the roadside coffee shop while Teo, Gon, and Ken took turns checking the progress at the vulcanizing shop next door. After an hour or so of worrying and getting stressed out, our Vietnamese friends heaved a sigh of relief with renewed smiles, and Ken, who barely spoke to us for the past two days (because, I surmise, he was uncomfortable speaking English) exclaimed "Are you ready? Let's go!"

Gon checking on the motorcycle

The lucky ones: Weeks before the trip, Teo had invited me and my friends to attend his brother's wedding (though during that time we have never met him nor his brother), which coincidentally falls around the time we planned to be in Da Lat. It was an honor to witness a traditional wedding and take part in the wedding feast.

The lucky ones: My friends and I stayed at Teo's home for two days and had the pleasure of interacting (sometimes literally acting since we couldn't speak Vietnamese and the family, except Teo, spoke no English) and eating with him and his family. An awesome experience. Added bonus: homecooked Vietnamese meals!

One of the many meals with the family. Father is not in the photo.
Photo by H Bacordio

We were lucky after all. Lucky to have met these wonderful people: Teo, his family, and his friends. We are grateful for the kindness and hospitality they have unselfishly shown us.

Veni, Vidi, (South) Vietnam:
Do You...?
What's in a (Business) Name? Vietnam
Bed Hopping
Adopting a Fellow Traveler
Strolling Saigon
From Concrete City to Sand Town
From Sand Town to the Highlands
Would You Call Us Lucky or Unlucky? (you're here!)
Wedding Crashers
Vietnom Nom Nom
Ding Dong, Dong's All Gone


  1. Pity that your friend lost the money( how was she wearing it??? it was all together?)
    But I will call it lucky trip, coz you get to stay with a real vietnamese family, taste their food and hospitality!!
    And you are absolutely lucky to have Teo as a friend.
    That's why I choose to travel in places where I have at least one friend. They can be really angels!! :)

    1. Of all the days (in the previous days, she kept some money elsewhere) for it to happen, it had to be the day where she had all her money with her. Anyway, I am just glad that Teo had answered my message when I posted on CS months before and that he had given me his number before we flew to Vietnam. When he knew of that incident, he drove all the way to Da Lat (from Duc Trong) at about 9PM to see how we were doing and if we wanted to just stay at their house that night. That was the first time we met him.

  2. Any news about the lost money? :D

    1. Nope. Wala, Mike. Wala na sad mi naghope na makuha pa to balik. Pasalamat nalang mi nothing worse happened and that na uli ang wallet with my friend's SG PR card, if wala, di to sya kabalik sa SG.

  3. Oh my, I wouldn't have known what to do if I lost all my money in a place I'm an alien of.