Subject: Re: Disconcerting moments
Hi John,

Our most anxiety ridden travel moment was when my husband and I arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam airport about 5 years ago. Our hotel was supposed to send a car to pick us up....but they didn't. We're used to traveling on our own and weren't too worried until we saw the throng of unauthorized cab drivers ready to literally pounce on us as we left the roped off area of the airport. They weren't allowed in, but once we were ouside the ropes, we were fair game. We didn't know who would give us a legitimate ride or who would take us for a ride! I went to phone the hotel and ask them what to do, but the only public phone was outside the ropes! I left my husband w/ our luggage and travel documents in the airport as I made my way to the money exchange to get money for the phone. The men were hovering around me like bee's around a hive and it was very uncomfortable. The phone wouldn't work and a man, who I thought was being a nice guy, offered to make the call for me with his phone card. He made the call and the hotel told me how to identify the legit drivers. When I hung up about 3 minutes later, the nice guy told me I owed him $20. for the call (which really cost about $.02). I told him no way and he started getting verbally abusive. I was now surrounded by all his buddies but somehow mustered up the courage to scream all my finest NYC street curses at them as I headed back to the safety of the roped in area. He started to touch my arm and I got really frightened and threw a $5.00 bill on the ground which they went scrambling for. The Hanoi airport was about to close (no more flights that day, so they close up) and we finally found a legitimate cab to take us to our hotel. It was a very frightening experience. But I must say, these were the lowlife's of that society. Everyone else we met in Hanoi was wonderful and there was never another moment where we felt nervous being on our own walking around Hanoi, taking cabs, etc.

Candice NYC