Lost in Adventure: Vietnam.
“Are you sure that this is the right turning?”
“Do you still have the map?”
“I don’t recognise this road…”
I’m sure everyone has had these thoughts at least once whilst in an unknown city in a strange country, and, admittedly, they ran through my head more than once during my time in Vietnam.
Be it after leaving the bar or when you’re adamant that the cute little shop you saw earlier is just around the corner; getting lost in a country where you can’t even pronounce the name of your hostel is always daunting. But let me assure you, from the drunken tourist to the exasperated local, help can always be found.
This is an assertion that I have trialled many a time, not least one night in Hoi An.
A friend and I had whiled away far too much time by the river and turned around to find pitch darkness, where, only moments earlier, bars and lantern markets had been competing for the attention of passers by. For in Vietnam, in true Cinderella style, everything must shut at midnight.
Having headed off in the vague direction of home, we found ourselves in what seemed to be a small village with dogs baying at us from every corner and not a soul in sight. Fortunately for us, one night owl was still up and tending to his motorcycle. Refusing his offer of “Moto Moto” a cry which resonates on every street, we presented him with our hotel card and were pointed in a vague direction. Stumbling on we soon found ourselves marooned in a rice paddy, unable to tell which way we had come from and in which direction we were to head.
But, just at that moment, a light came straight for us. Luckily it wasn’t the eyes of a rabid dog glowing in the moonlight, but the man from earlier, coming to our aid on his “moto moto”.
Refusing our queries of costs, our saviour sped us through the night and deposited us outside our hotel. Greatly relieved, and after convincing him to take our money, we rolled into bed, any faith in humanity well and truly restored.
The kindness of this stranger who left his home at who-knows-when in the morning to help out a pair of witless tourists will always stay with me, and, coincidentally, that was the first time I ever rode a motorbike.
I’m not saying that every stranger has your best interests at heart, but, in my experience, help will always be given if you ask for it, no matter whom, or where, you are.
Don’t be afraid to explore, even if you do risk getting a little lost, for isn’t that part of the adventure?