Friday, September 4, 2009

Hanoi Stalkers

You can never be too safe out there, with “those” kinds of people lurking around. When I say “those” I refer to the ones that keep making eye contact when you are trying to have a meal, the ones that engage in conversation making little to no sense. The ones that leave whens you decide to leave and follow you down the street. These are not the kind of experiences one enjoys at the best of time but when in a foreign country it is darn right scary. What pushes the night from weird and uncomfortable to downright scary and makes one contemplate the danger in the situation is when the said peoples follow you to your door step. We had one of those experiences today.

We noticed them sitting next to us at the restaurant. We were out numbered by one which already made us wary but decided to avoid eye contact. Once on our motorbike we headed home not riding too fast to create attention but by no means taking it slowly. I was a little nervous and edgy. As we approached the next corner they were by our side. I smiled at them. They smiled back. The nerve they had to harass us like this. I accelerated to try and make a break on them but they were still by our side. We were not going to lose them. Fearing for our safety Celine grabbed the camera. I guess her gut instinct was to get a picture of these hoodlums in case we needed to identify them. The ring leader was in the middle on the bike constantly making hand gestures. At each corner they were there. At one point I thought we had lost them and as we turned into our alley I felt safe. It was only then that I heard their voices from behind. They were driving past all looking at us. They had followed us all the way home. They didn’t stop and kept on riding looking over their shoulders until we were out of sight. We were home. It was a bit of a wake up call for us in this new city.

On return we were a bit shaken by the whole experience and needed a few minutes to calm down. Celine showed me a picture on the camera. In the midst of our getaway she had managed to get a photo. It was clear. We had them. Our ordeal did not go without reward. I am not sure how the police system works here but I plan to report the incident tomorrow. I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what we did tonight so I have posted the photo that Celine took below. Please be careful out there.

These three guys are adorable. They are awesome and are the exact reason we both love Vietnam. They are not stalkers, instead a happy family who loved speaking a little English and helping out their new foreigner friends, being us! We were sitting next to each other at a restaurant and the little girl “ring leader” was eager to practice her English. They laughed when we used any Vietnamese (totalling about 40 words now) and were having a great time with our basic communications. They helped us with the bill and avoided us being ripped off and left when we did. We smiled at each corner on the motorbike and they did, probably on the ring leader’s orders, follow us home. They drove off into the night and it was nice to know someone was happy to spend the time on a Friday night to follow us home. I felt important. Thank you Hanoi stalkers.

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