Beware the Foreigner

Just when I thought I had regained my faith in human nature, some jerk had to come along and spoil it all. I understand some of the trouble that the Vietnamese can cause a foreigner here, but I had never considered that is could happen the other way around. Normally if a Vietnamese person takes advantage a foreigner, it is only for a few bucks and nothing that hurts too much, but when a foreigner takes advantage of them…. Well, it can be financially devastating. We get scammed for a bit of spending money, but they get abused for month’s worth of wages. Let me tell you about last nights events.

I could not see my receptionist and upon asking found out that he was at an accident that happened just up the street from the hotel. Apparently a couple of foreigners had had a collision with another motorcycle. I asked Mai to go over and have Leon return to his duties so I could help out.

I arrived at the chaotic scene with my wife franticly trying to translate everything that was going on. There were two large well built Australian men surrounded by a sea of yelling Vietnamese that looked relieved when I showed up. The first words out of their mouth as about how they were in a situation where they were going to have to pay dearly. I told them to relax and let me figure out what happened. It turns out that the foreigners (having too much to drink) had collided with a motorcycle causing it to collide with another. The foreigners went down and suffered friction burns while a Vietnamese man and woman succumbed to an ankle injury and the other a broken finger. The driver and her baby of the second damaged motorcycle seemed OK. I told the fellows just to stand there and not talk and let me negotiate on their behalf as nobody wanted the police involved. Luckily I have some experience in such matters and was quickly able to negotiate a deal where the Foreigners would be willing to go with the injured Vietnamese and cover the medical expenses. They would then return and a 3rd party would be called in to estimate the damage to the motorcycles and the two would be responsible to pay for the repairs and a small amount in compensation. This alternative would have cost them about 100 dollars and save them from losing the motorcycle they were driving plus all their cash. The two happily agreed and assured me that everything would be taken care of…. Of course they would cover the damage they caused. One of the fellows went in a taxi with the injured Viets with instructions to stay together and return after all three had been treated. The only uninjured one followed on a motorcycle. The motorcycle belonging to the injured Vietnamese was moved to our hotel and we waited for everybody’s return. At about 10 pm we got word that somehow the injured got separated at the hospital and after the broken finger had been set, the foreigners were no where to be found. Apparently they did not even leave enough money to cover their own medical bill let lone enough for those they injured. In my opinion, this is one of the most cowardly actions I have experienced in Vietnam. Imagine…. 2 large fit men perhaps 28-30 years old in a foreign country causing bodily and material harm to some poor local who hardly makes enough money to feed their family. Shameful that they would not at least satisfy their consciousness by covering costs. Instead they sneak out leaving bitter memories in the minds of the Vietnamese that were willing to give them a break. What cowards!! I have lost face also. Not because I negotiated a fair deal for them to walk away from, and they bolted. They understand I did my best and I was fair to both parties…. I have lost faith because I also am a foreigner. How can you expect the Vietnamese to treat you fairly when you re not. There were perhaps 30 or 40 concerned Vietnamese at this accident. What do they think of tourists now? Should they show any sympathy when we are so quick to screw them?

This bothers me a lot. I shook their hands and they offered what seemed like heart felt thanks of appreciation. I also got the curt head leaning curt nod from the Vietnamese who acknowledged the deal that is as binding as any handshake. It is going to take weeks to wash those hand shakes away. I truly feel dirty and am embarrassed that I aided a foreigner in this way. They have perhaps spoiled it also for others to come. If I ever experience this situation again, I will get the police involved…. In this case the Viets were scared to call them, as were the foreigners. It seems I am the only one that is not afraid of them making it the right thing to do.

It is the next day and the victim has dropped by. Both of his hands are bandages and he has a broken wrist on one side, and a sprained wrist on the other. He also has severe friction burns on his stomach. I have promised him that I will do my best to find the foreigners responsible and at least get enough money t cover the expenses incurred by the poor locals.

Wanted are two very large muscular men probably from Australia. Both have short hair and ne will be sporting a bandage on his right calf. They told me that they live in Saigon and were in Nha Trang to visit a friend. Damn!! I wish I was good at remembering names.

Guys…!!!!! If you read this…. Please contact me. 150 USD will be more than enough to settle all of your debts

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Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

9 thoughts on “Beware the Foreigner

  1. Not yet, but the hunt continues…. On the positive side…. there is a very good chance that the expenses of the hurt individuals will be covered by friends of this blog.

    i will follow up in the future when it is all settled and done….. Maybe I will find these guys in SG…. I have people looking

  2. Yes I have their information. I still have the small hope that I will run into these guys in Saigon whan I am there.
    And hopefully if they read this blog, they will call me over and settle up.

  3. I am Australian and I am disgusted, though sadly not surprised. There are a*holes in every country, in every culture that make others look bad…
    For this is the nature of the human condition.

    Are you still in contact with the Vietnamese that were hurt? Or able to make contact with them?

  4. Drunk party people conscience?
    Probably they have forgot everything….
    The thai way is much better, jail and trow away the key (for foreigner), locals always win.

  5. “That’s gonna leave a mark”…..see what trying to be a nice guy gets you! Hope they get a case of conscience but don’t count on it!

  6. The biggest ‘trouble’ would have been to get the cops to actually show up. ‘Rules of the road’? Here? Rule number one: largest vehicle has the right of way. #2 You are supposed to be watching me…not the other way around.

    Most dangerous thing on the roads here?
    Two females, any age, on a motorbike.

    Brad: don’t try to tell them that drinking and driving is a bad thing. One of the main reasons I try to be off the road early on weekends is because it’s great sport for them to spend most of the day getting ‘tuned’ beyond belief then attempt to go home.

  7. Can you imagine the trouble they would be in if the police had been called…drunk driving…injuries…and damage to motorbikes….they probably would have spent some time in prison…beware to all foreigners who want to rent scooters and drive in Vietnam.It is dangerous, unless you know the rules of the road, and driving while intoxicated is never a good idea… in Vietnam or any other country. As you said they are cowards! They could have done the right thing…but alas….they are 30ish males….does not surprise me! The police should have been called.

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