walking ATM machine

Ok. So. You know that scene in Little Miss Sunshine? The scene where
they are driving in the VW bus and the horn is broken so it’s
constantly honking. (If you don’t you really need to watch that
movie.) Anyway, imagine that scene and multiply it by 6 million
scooters, a couple million taxis and maybe a million little trucks.
Now you have some idea of the sound of Hanoi.

So I was happy to make my way to central Vietnam where things are a
little calmer, a little quieter and a little slower. Plus Hoi An is
known for it’s custom tailoring of jackets, dresses, skirts, suits…
you name it they’ll make it for you. All at ridiculous prices. And
most of you have seen my closet… I. Love. Coats. So two coats, a
skirt and a dress later it’s time for my last fitting and the charging
of the Visa. Oooops, suddenly the credit card machine is broken. Her
kind offers to take me to the ATM for more cash are met with my kind,
but insistant, refusal. The morning I’m set to leave the credit card
machine is magically working again. I get clothes, she gets money,
we’re all happy again.

It was about 15 minutes before my little tuk tuk thingy was set to
arrive to take me to the airport (which I was alternately told was 45
to 60 minutes away depending who I asked) and I was at the hotel
counter trying to check out. Now, I’ll admit this hotel was a bit of a
splurge for me… I was sick, I wanted a nice big, comfortable bed and
a spacious western bathroom. But I was ok with the price because it
included everything… internet, breakfast, bottled water, pool, etc.
They also took credit cards, which is why I decided to stay there. Low
and behold their credit card machine was broken as well. But they
would kindly arrange for a scooter ride to the closest ATM. Tired of
getting five different answers to one question (which I suppose is
very Western of me), I pushed a little more emphasizing my impending
flight and their earlier assurance that Visa was happily accepted. But
no. They were firm. Twenty minutes and three ATMs later I’m back at
the hotel scrambling to pay and get on my way.

So I get myself loaded into the ridiculously small taxi thingy (with
no help from anyone, I bitterly note to myself), ripping my pants in
the process. Knowing I need to let go, I take a deep breath, cross my
fingers that the airport is more like 45 minutes not 60 minutes away
and sit back and try to enjoy the crazy ride. We get a bit out of Hoi
An and we’re driving by rice fields and I’m feeling calmer when I her
the very familiar sound if an iPhone ringing. What now? That’s not my
ringtone and my phone should not be getting reception here. My driver
pulls out his iPhone before I can even find mine. That did it. I start
laughing. I’m riding past rice paddies, in a tiny taxi and my driver
is chatting it up on his iPhone.
The airport is more like 30 minutes away, I get there in plenty of
time, there is no line and everything is good to go again.

3 thoughts on “walking ATM machine

  1. wow . . . you are so good. I would have killed someone before I heard the calming ring of an iphone. I would be jumping aboard that plane, hoping to got that I'm flying away from their jurisdiction, where I am wanted for murder of 1 dress maker, 1 or 2 hotel staff members, and 1 visa card with my name on it.

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