Friday, February 5, 2016

Getting Kicked Out of a Cab Our First 20 Minutes in Saigon

Photo Cred

Our first stop in Vietnam was Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon. Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam and you could tell.

We arrived at the airport and got out some cash (Vietnamese Dong). Yes, there was two weeks of dong jokes, and no it never got old. Then we found a cab to take us to our hotel.

Because of all the research I do before travelling, I was well aware of cab scams… they happen in every city. Travelling with Tommy (a travel vet- it was his second tour in Nam after all), I felt slightly better.

We found a cab, threw our four backpacks in the back and settled in. Tommy sat in front, pulled up the hotel his phone map to ensure we went the right way. Everything was going great, until Tommy noticed that the meter was rising at a pretty rapid rate. He also saw the fees listed on the dashboard in front of him. He did some quick math and guessed what the total should be. Just to be sure, he took a picture of this fee chart.

And THAT was what set off the driver. We were probably half way to our hotel when he pulled over, got out of the car, walked around the car, opened the passenger door and demand that Tommy get out.

Tommy held strong (something I’m not sure I would’ve done) and questioned why this guy was doing this. He told him he would delete the picture if he had a problem that. He told him we weren’t at the hotel yet. He told him anything to just take us to where we requested to go.

By this time, we all four were standing outside of the cab. We got our packs out so this guy couldn’t speed away with them. Nothing he was saying we could understand, until he looked at Dan, Jes and I and told us that he would take us the rest of the way. But Tommy was on his own.


We paid him for half of the trip. He hopped back in his cab and sped away. All four of us stood on the side of this busy street, 10pm at night, wondering what the fuck just happened. And it was in that moment I really wondered what we got ourselves into.

Not in a ‘I regret coming here’ sort of way. But a woah…we are in another world here with massive language barriers, cultural differences and moody cab drivers way.

My guess was that he was trying to rip us off, but we were on to him. So he would rather go back to the airport to rip off some unsuspecting Americans.

I can say that it never happened again the entire trip, but it was always something I was expecting.

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