This comes under the category of “It could only happen here”.
This afternoon I walked to end of my Hem to our friendly neighbourhood travel agent to book a couple of return tickets to Da Lat for the weekend. It was 1.00pm and I had been busy marking exam papers at home and I was anxious to get this trip booked and head in to the office. Of course, being a foreigner I am not attuned to the customary “nap time” that takes place here for an hour or so in the middle of the day.
The girl in the travel agent, (the one who can’t speak much English), had her head down on the counter when I walked in and was fast asleep. It was very cruel of me, but I woke her and coaxed her into doing some business with a bit of humour and some apologies. She remembered me from the previous day and knew that we are going to Da Lat so rang through to the booking office and had a short conversation in Vietnamese. Then she looked at me for a while, no doubt working on what she had to say and asked me if I could come back after 2.00pm because all of the booking staff were asleep but they would be awake after that time. “No problem” I said, I will come back then.
However, just as I was about to leave the other lady, (who speaks better English), came back into the shop and remembered me also. “Ah” she said, “You live in this Hem so we are neighbours. That is good”. “OK” says I, “Is it alright if I come back later this afternoon to pick up my tickets?” “Sure any time up until 7.00pm”. So I paid over the VND1,700,000 as we all chatted amicably and then I left, no receipt, no record of me paying the cash. But that was OK, I didn’t need a receipt, we are neighbours remember?
You have to love this place!