Do'h! (Parts: 3,567,583 through -93)
After my morning coffee, I have a phô gai (noodles with chicken) at the hotel breakfast restaurant - may as well use up the voucher. I check out - hey, it was only $US68 per night, even though my booking advice had said $US128, and even though the sign on the wall behind the cashier said $US208!
So, taking out my Vollman, I sit and wait to be picked up. Holy hell, I am 10% through this already! It's actually easier to read than I anticipated. I realise that this is because there is no irony in any of the writing. When he says "She sat down on a small stool", he means "There was a small stool and she sat down upon it". If I were to write "She sat down on a small stool," it would mean "There was no decent chair so she had to sit on a crummy small plastic crap of a stool." American writers don't do IRONY all that often, do they?
Ah, hang on, that's not the only reason I have read so much. The guys who were supposed to pick me up are late, 30 minutes late. "Do'h!" I now have exactly two hours before for my flight - I am supposed to be checking-in about now - and depending upon Hanoi traffic, getting there could be dicey. I sigh, ask the concierge to call me a taxi and as I did not have enough Dong left to pay the driver, I have to change $S50 at an execrable rate. "Do'h!" Just after I received my pittance, the office car arrived. "Cancel that taxi," I said as I shrugged and slunk past the concierge...
Also, I had planned last night to get some of that ultra-fresh NaNoi French-style bread which is oh so yummy first thing in the morning, but I forgot. "Do'h!" The driver from our office says maybe we will see a lady selling some on the side of the road. Sure enough, further into the country, about half-way to the airport, there are several vendors signalling us to stop and come to them in the Asian way, hand pronated, fingers wiggling. I take out my wallet, but the driver insists on paying. He buys me three - they are so light and airy only one would just whet your appetite. I stuff them into my bag for a pre-dinner snack when I arrive in Singapore.
Mmm, fresh vegemite rolls, is there nothing they can't do?
We make good time, it only takes 30 minutes from the hotel as the traffic is light so I arrive with some time up my sleeve, relatively speaking. Still late, by most people's standards. I wave farewell to the driver, see you next month car mun (it seems they want me back! god knows why), and go to check in a the Raffles Class counter on my PPS Card, not on my actual Economy class ticket. As she allocates my aisle seat at the front, I realise something.
I have left my wallet on the seat of the car. I left it there when I tried to pay for the bread. Holy fuck!
Capital D, Capital O, Capital "DO'H!!!"
As the lady is offering my plane-ticket and lounge voucher, I am fumbling with my phone, trying to call the Singapore office for I have no contact numbers of the people in HaNoi, silly me. The guy in the line behind me reaches over and starts his check-in.
In my wallet were most of my credit cards - a new Visa arrived from HSBC last week as my number was on a list of compromised cards, that one is in my desk at home. My ATM cards for Singapore and Hong Kong. My Australian driver's licence. My HK-ID card -you never know! A lot of business cards and restaurant cards. About $80. My door swiper card for the lift-lobby entrance at home... That's the crucial one! I'll have to walk upstairs with my bags! "Do'h!"
I cannot get a dial tone. It shows the right things on the screen like it's attempting to ring, but it never get's through and then cuts out of the call. There are full bars on the reception indicator. Network overload probably here at these isolated airport transponders. Come on, come on, get through you fuck! Nothing. "DO'H!"
I want to tell the Singapore office to tell the Hanoi office to tell the driver to get him to turn around and bring back my wallet before I get told off for being late getting onto the plane! I only hope he has found it OK and that it didn't fall the ground outside the car as I alighted. Holy shit, I need to cancel all those credit cards...
I try and try again. I try everybody's mobile phone as well as the office. My phone is silent! Am I on Flight Mode? No. Come on, come on, I have to get on soon. I try SMSing everyone as well - still not getting through. I start moving towards the immigration counters, then remember that all my $US and VNDong were in the wallet, so I can't pay the $14 airport charge... "Do'h!" But ah, lucky, that's right, I stored my Singaporean currency in my passport wallet... Anti-do'h(te?) I go downstairs to the currency exchange and get a slightly better rate than the hotel, but still crap - "Do'h!" Even downstairs I cannot connect - hey, it's not a network black-spot anyway.
There is only 30 minutes to lift-off now, and I still haven't gotten through. Even if I did, the driver is 45 minutes away already, he'd not be able to get back in time. I resignedly go through customs, the plane is already boarding but I try one last time... Nothing. One last "Do'h!" and I switch off the phone and board the plane.
A host of SMSs await me when I arrive - they haven't been coming through to Vietnam for some reason. A voice-mail tells me that the Hanoi office have found my wallet and are sending it by DHL... Fantastic. The limitation on that plan is that I'll be in Bangkok by the time it arrives.
OK, I'll still cancel the credit cards as I can get another Amex and another OCBC ATM card tomorrow. Which is what I have been doing as type this, as well as eating two of a possible three vegemite rolls. They are as delicious as I imagined them to be.
OTHER MONKEYS SAID
Phil, the main reason I read your blog is to thanks the heavenly stars that I ain't you. How do you survive and even somewhat thrive given your complete cacophony with everything about and around you? Really, it's incredible.
Unless you are actually sitting in some fancy Sydney hotel just inventing all this stuff, in which case i congratulate you.
and thanks for turning me on to Headley in Bangkok; he's hilarious but certainly far more twisted than you or I, or even Spike in HK, who seems to have his own issues.
And the novel?
Carl, the main reasoin I write this blog is to document FOR MY OWN SANITY the amount of crap that life throws at me! And to laugh about it
I am a butter-side-down sort of guy for some reason, with a glass half full attitude. Nah, I lie, I AM a miserable grumpy old sod.
Yes Dick H is very good - he does irony nicely - and a nice guy in person to boot. He is not in BKK anymore as a rule. I still am waiting to hear more about those Caribbean cruise missiles of his, Ning, Nong, Nyum and Nok...
The novel? You're reading it...