Hanoi – money talks… socialistic version of money rush
We were in Vietnam for one month but even so this country has remained one big mystery for us. It’s a very diverse and full of contrasts country, where from the European point of view simple everyday life sometimes goes with an absurd. This was the reason of one of our adventures in this wonderful place. It’s very surprising that this socialistic country is in fact is imbued close to the bone with sanguinary capitalism. In one word maybe money rules the world but Vietnam especially.
During preparation for our journey I had studied carefully all possible traps which can occur in this country but as it later turned out we weren’t able to predict everything. Among many warnings I read information about taxi drivers’ tricky practices. One can think that it’s nothing new even in European conditions but in Vietnam these practices don’t come down only to multiply the tariff. It can happen that unaware taxi passenger will be driven to another hotel because according to taxi driver his hotel is being rebuilt or even doesn’t exist! Dismayed customer who just arrived to a really big city like Hanoi, leaves this problem up to helpful taxi driver. In effect he is accommodated in a place which cannot be qualified for any lodging category. His confusion is additionally escalated by the fact that Vietnam is famous for copycats. In a manner of speaking it seems simple and logical. If any service or product is good and widely recognized it should be copied! For instance everything in Vietnam is recommended by Lonely Planet and naturally this brand name is written in every possible way.
Similar situation we can observe in Thailand where well-known chain of cafes looks similar but on the other hand a little bit different…
Prepared for all this traps, after 24-hour journey we arrived to the capital of Vietnam – Hanoi. We decided to take a taxi to our hotel because we were exhausted after such a long trip. In the beginning we showed taxi driver the address of our hotel and proceeded to price the service. I want to emphasize that it isn’t a piece of cake in Vietnam. Vietnamese are very good sellers and they are perfect at haggling. But there’s one big paradox, when poor tourist wants to settle a price it turns out that taxi driver can’t speak ANY language! But when resigned tourist goes away in search for more linguistically agile driver, he immediately starts speaking in every possible language. Finally we agreed to the price and went to previously booked hotel. Our taxi driver drove us to the Hotel du Centre Ville.
We were welcomed by a receptionist whose American smile didn’t indicate his unfamiliarity with imperial language. Having been prepared for this we handed him our booking in Vietnamese. We received the keys and went to our room. Few minutes later, to our astonishment the receptionist told us that he had mistaken the room and we should have got VIP apartment so we decided to change it.
After this exchange we realized that the name of the hotel didn’t correspond with the data for WiFi, but our helpful receptionist said that everything was correct. Next day I received mail with the information that we didn’t check in at the hotel.
We went to the reception desk immediately, where another linguistic skilled receptionist told us that we were in the wrong hotel! It turned out that the right hotel was next to this. What is more the interior of both was the same starting from furniture and ending on bed linen. There was a one difference, we had booked one star hotel but we were accommodated in 2 stars!
After a short discussion and phone to the hotel manager, receptionist told us that we could stay at that hotel for the same price, As you can see, it’s impossible to predict everything during travelling and such funny situations which we had in Vietnam showed us that this country is amazing and unique.