Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The City Of The Soaring Dragon

Hanoi street by night with moonImage by judithbluepool via Flickr
I make my way to my hotel in the hope that I can get a room, despite the fact that I am nine hours early. It is around 4:30 am and the hotel is disturbingly dark. I peer in through the door to see a mattress laid out on the floor of the lobby, containing two sleeping bodies. I knock on the door, feeling guilty for disturbing the staff.

I can't help but laugh at the conflagration of my own stupidity that has led to this moment. I originally booked this hotel from a net cafe where the computer date was one day early. Foolishly I believed the computer, as losing track of the day has been common on this journey. That was mistake number one. Mistake number two was misreading the train sked and thinking the train was arriving in Hanoi 12 hours later than it actually did.

In this case, these two wrongs actually did make a right. The big mistake was in fixing my mistake. If I had left well enough alone, all would have worked out perfectly. However once I realised that I had the wrong date, I emailed the hotel to change my reservation for the following day, which they kindly did. All of this leads me to darkening their door unexpectedly early.

Having roused them from their slumber, they sleepily let me in. I show them the code from my internet booking, and after much shuffling of paper I am informed that there is no room available. They offer me a computer and a chair. I gladly accept, and they go back to the mattress on the lobby floor.

I laugh in wonderment that someone as stupid as myself managed to get this far. Around 6:30 am someone checks out, and they offer me an uncleaned room so I can at least get some sleep. I lay a blanket over the bed and crash, thankful for the opportunity.