There is a big difference between six US dollars and six hundred thousand Viet Dong… But it isn’t that much.

One of the things the Lonely Planet guidebook on Vietnam will tell you is that scams at the Taxi stand at the Vietnam airport abound. They will run fast meters. They will take you to the wrong hotel. Anything they can do to squeeze a bit of money out of you.

That’s why I was pretty happy to learn that Uber is available in Hanoi. However, it seems that whatever webpage I was looking should have been on the WayBack Machine as it was horribly out of date. Uber was acquired by Grab in 2018 and effectively shut down. (More on Grab later).

Once at the airport I needed some way to get to my hotel. Avoiding the Taxi (Tahh shee) drivers that first approached, I found the official Taxi line and went towards it. A gentleman walked towards me, asked if I needed a Taxi (I’m so bad at understanding accents) and I asked how much to my hotel. Six Dollars was the reply.

Knowing that the hotel would send a roundtrip pickup for $44, I thought this was a great deal, so I said yes and walked towards the line. As I got closer, I was redirected to the first Taxi in the line… and this is when ALL HOLY HELL broke loose. There was screaming, handwaving (including the cigarettes in the hands) and shouting.

This was NOT something I really wanted to be a part of, so I walked away, which then got both gentlemen yelling at me to come back. Using my best Vietnam language skills…I said nothing, pointed at the two of them, and waved them off. Thus very well miming that I want NO part of your fued.

I sat near the fountain until they resolved their mess, and the original guy reapproached me. SIX dollars. OK I said, and off we want.

As we were exiting the airport… you know, just far enough to be far enough away to not want to get out of the car, it turned to 600,000 Vietnamese Dong. And yes, I giggle a little bit inside every time I have to say that. Ok, so whip out the currency converter, and that ends up being about $24 which is a couple of dollars more than expected, but oh well.

So we went on our way, and wow, what a ride. It is chaotic out there, and I actually saw someone hit by a car and bumped to the curb. Glad I wasn’t driving. When we got to the hotel, the meter showed 475,000, but I wasn’t going to quibble with the guy as it’s a difference of $5.

The hotel so far is pretty great. Quiet and cool features. A clawfoot bathtub that seems to be made for a burlesque show, a cool purple couch, comfy bed and a kitchenette.

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