We sat for perhaps half an hour waiting for this mystery person to arrive, but nothing so far. We had the English speaker call again and were told that she was very afraid to meet with us. The girl assured her that we were nice people and that nothing would happen. Reluctantly she agreed and after a long time of waiting, she showed up with a few children and another motorcycle as back up. It seemed the whole family arrived as back up in case there was going to be a problem. The woman sat but refused to give any information as to who she was or the location of Drifters friend. The woman finally declared that she did not know any of the people here and if she was to continue, we would have to go someplace more private away from strangers. Hmmmmm….. OK. So off we went, Drifter and I, along with the English
speaking lady and the mysterious woman and her family. We sat in a sheltered restaurant away from the stares of passers by. Reluctantly after some very hard convincing the story began to come out. Up until this point, there was a very good chance that this was the same little girl he used to drive around with her father, but as the story unfolded, a look of disappointment. Here is how it unfolded. As far as we can tell, as the lady was still not very open with the information and scared to talk for some reason.
She had seen the add in the nationwide newspaper and thought to respond to Drifter in order to help. ( so she says) Interpitation: She was probably feeding Drifter just enough information that perhaps she could have him send some money for her assistance. She realized we were not getting angry and seeing this a little more information came out. As far as we were able to put it all together, this was the plan. She was going to help by putting Drifter in contact with an agency in Saigon that specializes in finding lost people. She was waiting for a response from him to follow up and make some kind of commission to simply steer him to the service. She had no idea that he would come here in person
to try to locate his friend, and had she known, perhaps she may have not come across as personally knowing details about him. She did seem like a nice person, and Drifter could not blame her for trying to make a buck to support herself. Everybody here works that way. We finally departed with Drifter commenting on how many times he has been on wild goose chases. It really was looking like this was the time he would be successful, but alas, not to be. So one adventure ends and another continues…
We head down the road in the direction of Cambodia and about in about 1 km we come to a location where there was a fierce gun battle the night before. It
seems that a gang was running drugs in from Cambodia and there was a shoot
out between the police and the smugglers. A Chinese was killed and a Laotian hospitalized. On the Vietnamese side, 2 officers were shot along with a police dog. Past the investigators we went to an ancient Cham site that I have not seen in many years. A photo or two later it was time to head off to Phan Rang and find a hotel…. But wait!!…. We had forgot our passports. Unless we could find a by the hour hotel, we could run into problems. I know the rules here and only the seedy places will let people in with no id. We drove for an hour or so looking and talking to people about hotels and places to have fun. We even asked about where to get girls in the hope we would find a hotel that would overlook our not having id. No luck! We ended up in a guest house near the city center. I was able to communicate to the owner that I had a driver’s license with me, but no passport. He seemed Ok with it and we headed out for dinner. Upon our return we were told that we could not stay and would have to leave. Huh? We could drive back to NhaTrang, but it would be late and in the dark. Not a good idea. I had called and found out we were still in business. The police did not shut us down. Lucky for us the wife of the owner came back and seeing that I was also a hotel owner, was able to find a form that Drifter could fill out. We called Mai for the passport numbers and everything worked out in the end.
Being strangers in a strange town, we decided to go on a quest for a cold beer. Yea right!!
We walked for hours looking for a place to sit and chat the night away. In our meandering, we noticed that all the women we saw were overweight. I do not mean many, but most!! What an unusual thing!! We did find a sort of outside sports bar that had extremely loud football on TV, so we stayed and had a cool one. Alas, no action here, so it was back to our hotel for us. Along the way, we found a small ally with some different food that Drifter had not tried before. We had some Bun Xeo and something else I cannot recall the name of, then I got quite a chuckle. Drifter was remarking about how popular boiled eggs at night was curious why. I convinced him to try one knowing that they were the eggs with the half formed duck fetuses in them. To his credit, he sat with a chubby gal and dug in. He was a hit with the girls and some time was spent with them before returning to our room for the night. The next morning we returned to NhaTrang. There was probably an adventure on the way back, but I cannot recall now.