Sunday, February 22, 2015

That time we checked into five hotels in one city.

Tet. Like Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Years all rolled into one, it is the massive lunar new year celebration over here. It's also a real pain in the ass. Since the moment we arrived in Vietnam, I've been researching the best place to spend this joyous occasion. And the general consensus tends to be, "anywhere but Vietnam." Great. As I mentioned before - prices quadruple, ATMs run out of cash, everything closes and all of the hotels sell out. But what's even more maddening, is that it's not quite clear WHEN it is. Actual New Years Day this year is on February 18. However, the "holiday" takes place anywhere from a week before to a week after, depending on your source. Trains randomly fill up. Business shut down when they feel like it. It's kind of a mess.

I felt really accomplished when I secured us a place to stay from Monday 2/16 to Friday 2/20, figuring that would basically have us covered. Well, two places - we had to move, cause no single place was free for the five day stretch. Little did we know, when the Friday busses were sold out and we decided to extend our visit through the weekend, that the entire city of Nha Trang would be 80% booked. Guess we should have figured as much.

Anyhow, we managed to find a place nearby online and swooped it up immediately, relieved to have an affordable roof over our head for the next few nights. That morning we scarfed down breakfast, quickly packed up, picked our our laundry, and hoofed it over to our new home covered in sweat. The woman at the front desk greeted us with a casual, "Oh, sorry, we canceled your reservation." EXCUSE ME? How can you cancel a reservation you just confirmed YESTERDAY??

Fast forward through a dozen hotel lobbies. A dozen rejections. One tempter tantrum. A gallon of sweat. An hour lost. We finally find a place who will rent us a shitty $10 room for the bargain price of $30. Fine. We climb the elevator-less flights of stairs, drop our bags, and I immediately peel off my soaked clothes and jump in a cold shower. Then I hear an, "Um, babe..." through the door. "WHAT?!" Exasperation. "These aren't bedbugs, are they?"

I come flying out of the shower. Good news is, they are not bedbugs. Bad news is, there are hundreds of them, whatever they are. Climbing up the walls. Covering the ceiling. So tiny, you'd mistake them for flecks of dust if you didn't look closely and realize that they were on the move. Awesome.

In moments, we were downstairs, bags strapped to our backs, being blocked by a very confused staff who did not want to give us our passports back (they have a horrible policy here of making you hand them over for the duration of your visit). We managed to effectively communicate "BUGS" as I mimicked a creature with antennae climbing up a wall, and we hightailed it out of there.

Eventually, we managed to find a passable room, if only for the final two nights before things start to clear up again here (supposedly). Tomorrow, we move into our fifth room of the week, an upgrade from the fourth one we were forced to settle for. And since we aren't sure when we're leaving here, it may or may not be our last! Now we just have to wait for the bus ticket prices to fall back to normal.


  1. ew!!! bugs!!!!! yuck.....sounds like an odyssey for sure!

  2. Wish I could offer you a room! Best wishes from Oregon