One of my favourite things to love and hate about Asia is the fact that when the locals do not know what to say or blatantly do not want to help you, they immediately become tall toddlers with no language.
This comes after our polka dot staking incident just last Tuesday. Here we are, 3 fine specimen, roaming the streets of Hanoi in search of sandals and doughnuts when it becomes apparent we are being followed. To be honest it took me about 15 minutes to clue in but thankfully the other two have wits like foxes and caught on.
I didn’t realise until we had stopped to look at a map with a cyclo man when a women in this white two piece number with black polka dots had oddly joined our trio. She was holding her stomach and looked like she was going to cry. She held an uncanny resemblance to an injured Dalmatian puppy so at first I felt sorry for her.
She did not at any point even try to hide, be incognito or anything and I’m not talking about following metres behind I mean if one us stopped and bent over she would be doing cartwheels. Hmm perhaps that’s what we should’ve done. If we stopped, she stopped even when we cannoned it. If we ran. she ran. Life got weird for a while there. I’m not sure if she actually thought she was invisible, on drugs, just thought fuck it, why not or a combination of all three.
We stopped numerous times asking is she was ok, what she wanted, leave us alone and to go away in both English and Vietnamese but no to avail. We decided we’d try the gelato man because let’s be honest in times of high stress who doesn’t feel like an ice cream.
This is where he (along with many others) apparently became unable to speak Vietnamese but was happy to speak English and give us directions to the police station. After several head shakes, palms up and fake expressions of ‘I do not understand any language but have managed to survive to a ripe age of 40’ we finally reached the Hanoi Backpackers for sanctuary.
These guys were phenomenal and a huge thanks to them for coming to our aid. Not only did they get the Dalmatian away from us but assisted us in laughing and creating hilarious jokes of the situation. We were able to watch her be weird yet feel safe doing so. She stated that she was not following us which led to an uproar of laughter especially when she couldn’t provide any justification for being on the steps of the hostel and chasing us up the street. Nothing made sense. Lesson learnt- pays to remain vigilant and wear your tigers eye.
What happened to dots you ask? Well she found another couple with backpacks and ignorance to follow. Let’s hope that no one got hurt.