Part 3. Drugged & Kidnapped & (almost) Sold into Slavery: Vietnam on a Dime
At the appointed hour my escorts arrived and I climbed on back of the scooter. I was definitely apprehensive, but everything had worked out OK the day before, so I thought I’d just go the BBQ and then end my association. I thought it would be rude not to show up for a party to be held in my honor. (I’m not sure why I was so concerned about appearing rude, but I was.)
Alas, we did not go to the BBQ. In fact, we didn’t go back to the housing block. Instead my escorts took me to a deserted café for ice tea. I told them I didn’t want ice tea, but they persisted.
So the 3 of us were sitting in an outside courtyard at a table with an umbrella and some guy brings us 3 glasses of ice tea. I see the girl take out a packet of “sugar” and slip it into my drink while the guy is trying to distract me. I get a decent look though and that packet of white substance was not sugar – it was too powdery. I start to get really afraid at this point. They keep insisting that I drink my tea, which I pretend to do.
I get up and walk back to the parking lot, telling them that they need to take me back to the hotel. You’re probably wondering why I just don’t leave. In my own defense, I was hopelessly lost, didn’t speak the language, and we were out of the city proper so there weren’t any cyclos around to hire. I was stuck. I got back on the scooter. Of course, they didn’t take me back to the hotel as promised.
Instead, they take me to another establishment — a low brick building with lots of cars and scooters outside. The presence of cars was very unusual and slightly alarming, since an average Vietnamese worker wouldn’t have the means to buy a car in the early 1990s.
We go into the establishment, it looks like a restaurant, but it’s completely dark. We want to sit in a booth and they have to take the chairs off the table for us to sit down. Obviously no one was expecting us and the proprietor was extremely angry and yelling at us. As my eyes adjusted, I looked up at the walls and see all kinds of pornographic photos hanging there. I then notice all this commotion going on in the back room – RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!
Over the booth back I went, running as fast as I could out into the parking lot. I was chased by my escorts and the restaurant manager, who kept screaming obscenities at me at the top of his lungs. I start causing my own commotion in the parking lot and attracting attention, which the restaurateur didn’t like. He basically flips off my escorts and me and is gone.
So – get this – I get back on the scooter. I know, I know, my own stupidity boggles the mind. I truly frighten myself. The 3 of us get back on the scooter and still they don’t take me back to the hotel. At this point, I don’t even know why I would expect them to.
Instead, they take me to an art gallery where they want to buy me a picture to show there’s no hard feelings. They keep pointing at a painting of a reclining girl. I end up getting a truly horrendous watercolor of a water buffalo on a lavender background.
Finally they take me back to the hotel, painting in hand, and drop me off. I’m safe but shaking at my near-miss life of sexual slavery. After this little escapade, I was definitely a year older.
Happy birthday to me.
This is the final installment in a 3-part series.
This entry was posted on Saturday, May 30th, 2009 and is filed under Asia Pacific.