The Price Is “How Much You Want To Pay?”

May 24, 2008

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Since I had a really early flight to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), I ended up sleeping in the Singapore airport last night. Which means I spent the night curled up in an uncomfortable chair at the coffee shop, trying to sleep. After my flight arrived in HCMC, I walked to the domestic terminal, and waited for my flight to Hanoi. Welcome back to the real SE Asia! I arrived in Hanoi around 2pm and caught a taxi to my hotel. The taxi drivers here in Hanoi are dodgy! I’d read that they like to scam people, so I had the name, address, and phone number of my hotel on a piece of paper. I gave it to the driver and he called them (clearly he called another number), and then said they wanted to talk to me. The person on the phone said they didn’t have my booking and that there weren’t any rooms available and tried to book me at another hotel. So I told them that I’d already paid for my hotel (lie) and that I was meeting friends there (lie), and then refused to talk to them anymore. The driver called them again and then even stopped at a place that wasn’t my hotel and they came out to try to convince me to stay there instead! I was pretty pissed off at this point, since I’d spent the night in the airport and then been traveling all day. While he was driving in circles, I was busy locating us on my Lonely Planet map and asked him why we’d already driven past the same area twice. Once he realized that I was a cranky tourist with a sense of direction, he shut up and drove straight to my hotel.

Checking in to my hotel was another ordeal. They really want to make every possible cent off you in Hanoi. They asked how much I wanted to pay, and so I was like “What? Well how much is the room?” So they proceeded to describe to me all the different prices and rooms I could pay for, with the lowest one of course being almost twice as much as what I booked it online. I ended up having to check my email there and show them my booking.

After an afternoon playing mind games with the residents of Hanoi, I grabbed lunch at a cafe near my hotel and then went to sleep.