Have you ever planned a nice relaxing few days, and before it gets going something dreadful happens? You think, ‘Oh God, what else will go wrong,’ and you end up worrying the whole time? That could have been my last two days, but I luckily escaped.
Herman and I are staying in a B&B over a restaurant/bar in Hanoi, Vietnam. We’ve been here a week and it’s a charming little place. It’s four floors and we have the top floor as our apartment.
Two days ago, the manager arranged for us to be picked up at the front door at 8a.m., where we would be taken to Halong Bay for a two day cruise on one of the most scenic places in the world. I was excited and hurried through my morning shower. While I was drying myself, I bumped the plumbing fixtures coming out of the wall, and they simply broke off. Water sprayed out of the wall, threatening to flood the building. I couldn’t turn it off!
I jumped into my pants and dashed downstairs. At that early hour, only the bartender had arrived and was sweeping the floor. He didn’t speak much English, but I managed to convince him we had an emergency. We raced up the steps and once he saw the situation, he opened the window and jumped up onto the roof. I was a bit taken aback until I remembered that in Southeast Asia, most buildings have their water tank on the roof. He turned off the water for the entire building.
The more disturbing part was, we had to leave for our trip before I had a chance to talk to the building manager. I wanted desperately to explain, but couldn’t. We drove for three hours to Halong Bay, the whole time I stewed about what was happening back in Hanoi. I’m mean, because of me, their business was essentially shut down. How can you run a restaurant/bar without running water? I was miserable.
Luckily, once we boarded the cruise boat and shoved off, the scenery was so spectacular I was pulled into the present, and trusted that the manager would deal with the situation.
Well, long story short, I was able to enjoy my two days on the bay because there was no way to ignore the magnificence of the place, plus the staff on the boat were superb, the food exceptional. It turned out to be one of those rare treats you always hope for, and seldom find.
It was not until I got back into the car for the drive back to Hanoi that I began to worry again. However, when we arrived at out room, the plumbing was completely fixed and we had an apology waiting for us from the management. I feel so much better.
Little Vin at Dreamland by Edward Patterson
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