It was a bit of a tough time the past couple of days. My grand niece Su Su came to visit for the weekend and practice her English as has been our routine for the past months. The day was a bit busy with customers and I drove a couple of nice guests from Israel to the bus station to pick up tickets for the bus to get to Saigon. I was having problems with the translations in talking to the ticketing agent so I called Mai to tell them clearly what the customer wanted. The phone was handed back to me and I heard a loud popping sound in the background. Mai told me that I had better come right home as somebody had just died in front of us. This is not so unusual as there are motorcycle accidents all the time and the people here almost take them in stride, but the sound I heard and the ruckus I could here got me moving!! It had to be close. I drove the congested streets as fast as I was able and was blocked from reaching home by a solid wall of people and motorbikes. As it turns out, I was able to somehow use my western looks and angry stares to push past the mob and into my place. In front was one of the largest pools of blood I have ever seen and splattered about on the walls, floors, and sidewalk were globs of the contents from a persons head. The body had already been removed but the mobs of people were still there. Directly in front of the bloody mess were two lawn chairs where I know Khuyen sits every evening. Mai was with SuSu and Khuyen was now where to be seen. I asked and was told she had gone to her room. I bolted up the stairs to the top of the building where I found her shivering like a leaf, furiously scrubbing some clothes. She was drenched in sweat that she looked like she had just stepped out of a shower. I held her for a bit as a Father would his child. It seemed to calm her down and I was then able to leave her to try and sort this mess. I have to be careful about any of my criticisms as things work very differently here and I do not want to step on any toes so to speak.
It is now the second day after the event and I now know what has happened and everything that transpired. A young man and his friends rented the top balcony of a hotel next to me to be used for parties and sex. He had financed this by taking money from the mother without her knowledge. The family is poor and the 800 dollars he took was all they had. The mother tracked him down and confronted him in the room. A lot of yelling and screaming went on and the result was the man jumping off of the balcony. He landed on his head on the solid concrete sidewalk about 2 feet in front of Khuyen and SuSu spraying them with all sorts of matter. The man with most of his head crushed survived just long enough to roll over and look at my girls and my night reception before crossing his head with his arm and dying. The mother came out and continued her yelling and cursing at the dead body. People came and the younger ones pointed and laughed at the spectacle, others just stared. The woman called her brother and he arrived to claim the body and threw it over the back of his motorcycle. He drove off leaving a bloody mess on the sidewalk. I know all of you are wondering about the coppers, sorry but I cannot address that very much. It was a spectacle!! There were hundreds, maybe even thousands of people gathered gawking, and pointing. My night receptionist was hauled away to the police station to make a statement, and thankfully, my girls did not have to suffer that. The event finally ended and a construction worked threw sand onto the large blood of congealed blood. For an hour or two the parade of motorcycles and pedestrians continued to stop and point. Two guests from Britain and I decided to try to make thing normal by setting up chairs outside, having a beer, and waving to the passers by. All in all it was a very bad day. My guests from Israel were spared the sight and just made it a night to go to bed early.
It is now the 3rd or 4th day later. It took 2 days to have the mess cleaned up a bit as we had to wait for a monk to come and bless the site. The pile of sand and incense sticks were finally bagged after 2 days of people walking and driving on the reddish sand. There is still a large red stain that needs to be removed, but the hotel next door is waiting yet for another monk to do some blessings. Only then will the mess be scrubbed up.
Finally…… one emergency has lead to another. Lich, my night receptionist cannot deal with the ghosts and horror of what he saw. He (through his sister) has given us a 3 week notice. The very same day we leave for Canada!! At least Khuyen and SuSu seem OK now. A couple of very strong gals.
Ahhhhhh the Adventure continues