The ride to My Son which never came

A portion of this entry was written on July 14. Timestamp of writing time included.

Sunrise from afar

[6.08am] The bus that was supposed to take me on the Sunrise My Son tour should have picked me up at 5am. Instead, I’m in my room enjoying the last of the cool morning air.

Turns out, the tour bus misinterpreted my address “3XX, name” as “room 3XX, hotel name”. Worse thing is, I left a wrong phone number with the tour so even if they did try contacting me, it wouldn’t go anywhere.

I decided to sign up for the sunrise tour the day before because I want to escape the tourists and the heat. I biked to Hoi An old town and stopped by a travel agent, which turned out to be Blue Coral, and signed up for a tour + boat ride package. It was US$14 but I didn’t have dollars so I was charged 210,000 dong.

Really excited for the trip, I woke up at 4.30am, went to brush my teeth and put on BB cream in the semi-darkness lighted only by my torchlight.

At 4.50am, I was waiting at the junction.

The 10 minutes until 5am there felt like a very long time. The sky was still light blue with a peep of orangege from the east. There was a surprising number of people zipping by. 5 am!


I waited and waited.

Then a public radio started broadcasting. I wasn’t sure what the content was but it felt very socialist–in a positive way. A very uplifting female voice was announcing something which I regret not being able to understand.

As I waited, taxis passed by, giving me a honk or two. I shook my head.

I saw buses turn into a corner but they never turned to me.

Dog which kept barking menacingly at me

At 5.25am, I texted the phone number on my receipt. At 5.40am, I decided to head back.

At 5.50am, a phone call arrived. A man said the tour bus has left as they thought I was staying in a hotel. I asked them to pick me up at the right place for the 8am tour instead.

Funny thing is, my homestay owner said last night that tours sometimes don’t come and pick people up. And that if we have a tour, we can ask her to call and confirm.

I thought to myself: Nah, it won’t happen to me. I just booked it this morning.

And it did, but in a different way.

But the time standing outside was not wasted. I got to see and hear a part of Vietnamese life that was hidden from travellers who wake up at 9am for breakfast.

Still, next I’ll remember to be really specific about my pickup address and also write down the right phone number.

PS Luckily, I was still able to join the 8am tour to My Son. The sun was hot but there wasn’t too many people around. All’s well that ends well.

What travel mishaps have you encountered? Did it end well?

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