Anyway, on to the baby drama, and happily, the aggro stage has defiantly finished. It really must have been something in the water in Saigon. I had total and complete justification to go off BIG TIME at a French arsehole and I didn't. I remained totally calm throughout the entire ordeal. After doing my one hour circle of the back streets of Nha Trang, I set off searching for the hospital and could hear a baby crying down the bottom of the street. I don't mean crying, I mean CRYING. It took me a good 5 minutes to get to where he was, and he was still going. I know more about internal combustion engines than I know about babies, but I knew something wasn't right. Babies cry when they're hungry or when their nappies are full of disgusting smelly stuff. This baby wasn't hungry or smelly. It was hysterical. I looked around, helpless. Nobody. There was a small street stall, which wasn't really a stall but tubs of cheap plastic beads and bracelets and necklaces and the like laid out on the pavement, and a makeshift stall against the wall with more on top. The baby, maybe 6 months old was wedged partly behind the stall sitting in one of those 5 wheel things (what do I know?). I leaned over and tried to distract him by clapping my hands but it didn't work. Looked around again - nobody, apart from some people on a small food stall across the street who didn't seem remotely interested. I didn't want to, but I went around the back of stall and tried to hold his hand, rub his tummy, rub his back, rub his head - anything. Nothing was working. Then I looked around - the tubs of bracelets and things on the floor were all over - either someone had fallen and knocked a lot of stuff over, or something worse had happened. I really, really didn't want to take the baby out of the 5 wheel thing. Internal combustion engines are in motorcars. Babies are a complete mystery to me. I looked around again. Nothing. Nobody. Whoever had wedged the 5 wheel thing in had done a real good job - there was no way it was going to move. I took the baby out, and he calmed down a bit, but not much, and not for long. A couple walked by - late fifties, early sixties. I looked pleadingly at them. Nothing. Can you help me please? Eh? Something is wrong here. Shrug. Can you help me? There's something wrong with this baby. Shrug. There's nobody here to take care of him and there's something wrong. Shrug. At this stage, I'm thinking he can't understand me. Look, I said, pointing at the jewellery all over the pavement. Something bad has happened here. Shrug. His wife was actually walking away. Please do something to help me. I don't know what to do. The wife came back to pull him away from this obvious inconvenient interruption to their holiday, and they started walking off, with him saying what can I do? I said That's OK. You're right - it's not your problem. His wife looked at me, and whilst I'd remained totally calm and in control and hadn't raised my voice in the slightest and hadn't even been sarcastic when telling him it wasn't his problem, I gave her a special, special look. I know I shouldn't make assumptions, but these people probably have their 2 or 3 kids and 2 or 3 grandkids at home. How the hell could this woman ignore the baby, which was even more hysterical by now? She walked away again and he said to me you have to understand that these people aren't the same as us. They have different lives. What people? I asked, genuinely puzzled. I'm not talking about any people, I'm talking about a baby. The wife came back - the reserved-for-only-the-very-specialist-of-all-occasions-look had worked. She'd gone into the shop next door and brought out a sales girl, who took the baby from me and did a lot better job of calming him down than I had. She took him to her shop. Then off the French dogs went to enjoy the rest of their holiday.
I couldn't just go - the stock was all over the pavement, nobody was looking after it, so I started picking everything up and putting it into the tubs. I wasn't sorting it - not my job - just getting it of the street.
A man who had been talking to the food vendors over the road came over. He spoke a bit of English, and said OK, OK, mama come back soon. I told him I wanted to pick the things up for her. He said No, no, mama back soon. She fix. Then he told me that mama had no money to pay and mafia men came bash bash. Mafia? It's a tiny corner on a public pavement. A few minutes later, mama came back on her motorbike with a 7 or 8 year old girl on the back. The salesgirl from the shop must have been watching and brought the baby out, all smiling and eating a biscuit. I was speechless. I thanked the girl for looking after the baby, mama thanked me for looking after the baby and picking up her things. I couldn't believe what had happened. What kind of world do we live in? Is this the real world, or is the world we live in the real one?
Anyway, the best part about it is that while those complete bastards didn't care about anything that was going on, not once did I raise my voice, get angry or upset (I don't count giving her look, as I don't always realise I'm doing it).
Which means the aggro stage really is over. It really must have been something in the water or air in Saigon.
With the benefit of hindsight, I should have got the camera out. Taken a photograph of them. Got someone to translate the story into French and posted it with the photo's on every web site that I could find in France. Shame on them. I firmly believe in karma. What goes around, comes around. They'll get theirs sooner or later. And I hope it's everything they deserve.
I've been back a couple of times to see if she was OK, but someone else has taken her patch of pavement.
As for Nha Trang - OK for a nice beach, but there isn't much else to recommend it. It's a town totally for tourists, with more than it's fair share of people trying in on in a really serious way. The boys from Skegness had an open bus ticket, but they threw it away and took a flight out of here this afternoon. They were just as sick as us of being ripped off. Most nights, they were totally wasted, but last night two of them were a bit off colour. Because there were 2 sober ones, they checked the bill at the restaurant for the first time since they'd arrived. Apart from being charged for 2 extra meals, they were charged for 8 large bottles of beer more than they'd had. The meals were taken off the bill straight away, but they had to argue about the beer before getting the bill amended. They'd never checked the bills before because everything is so cheap here compared to England it isn't worth it, and they were always too drunk anyway - I always do, and find 'mistakes' so often that I always will. I also insist on having empty bottles left on our table after an incident a few years ago when we had to pay for 3 beers although Peter had only had 2 - we had no way of proving it. In Thailand, it's common practice - saves the staff keeping tabs, they just count the number of empties when you leave.
Although we did a bit of walking through the "real" town, way back from the beach, there wasn't anything of any interest there either that we could find, although the mark up on fruit was a lot more acceptable than in the tourist area. We've booked a sleeper bus back to Saigon tomorrow night. Can't wait. We're really here at the wrong time of year. We've come a bit too far north for February, It's been hovering around 20 degrees - great when the sun's out, but it's been pretty overcast most of the time we've been here, and quite chilly with the sea breeze.
Peter's out (not on the raz - he's had his alcohol quota for a couple of months and won't be trying to keep up with 25 year olds for quite a while) watching the Middlesborough Sheff United game. At least it's an early game, so he should be back by about midnight. He had the idea of phoning Timmy about an hour before the game started, knowing he'd be on his way or just getting there. Just as well he phoned. The game had just started. He didn't check the kick off time and it was 2pm not 3pm as it usually is. He ran out of the hotel to the bar next door where they have a giant screen, so at least he only missed the first 10 minutes and no goals. It's on the (small) TV here, and I'm sure I've just seen Tim. Peter said he'd told him he was right behind Schwarzer, and that's where he (or someone who looks very like him) was.