It was going to be a long day. The brochure for the day trip to Halong Bay had the coach picking us up from the hotel at 7.00 am and dropping us back after 9.00 pm. I was running a temperature but didn’t want to cancel.
About two hours into the trip I started feeling worse and decided to return to the hotel. The coach was stopped and the guide hailed a taxi. Eventually, I made it back to my budget hotel by about 10.00 am.
The receptionist hesitated when I asked for my room keys. She muttered something but I didn’t understand a word of Vietnamese. The phone rang and she answered it, the same time another guest badgered her.
Ah! I thought, instead of cleaning the room, he was having a snooze. As I pushed past him and headed for the toilet, I noticed that my suitcase was missing. Then a naked woman on the bed pulled the bed sheet over herself and screamed at me. I shouted back, “thieves, police.” She jumped up and slapped me. I hit the man. She scratched my face. I kicked him. Pillows and shoes were flying across the room. Everybody was shouting, including the people now collected near the door.
The police arrived and I could see that some people were in trouble. Not expecting me back till very late in the evening, the hotel staff had rented out my room to the young woman and her customer for an hour or two.
- By Percy Aaron -
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