The apocalyptic cab ride from the airport to Hanoi's old quarter was like a scene from a weird movie: Escape from New York or the Year of Living Dangerously, except the cab driver wasn't the bodacious Adrienne Barbeau and I am no Linda Hunt (though my uncharacteristic emotive performance forthcoming should earn me an award in the academy of life if there ever was one).
It took us a little over a half an hour to cross over the street to get to the Hanoi queen II, our hotel, by which time at least a thousand scooters zipped by full-throttle. I already hate the motor maniacs. The rule of the road is there is no rule of the road so run like buggery, be assertive and pray they brake!
No wonder these kids are so adept at videogames their moped hand-eye is startling.
Please kill me.
The acne-complected teenage desk clerk had bad news. The family in the room we booked were apparently very sick. Sensing mischief in the impish cock of the desk clerks pimply brow we called bullshit - the turd nonetheless relocated us to the Queenstar, a hotel that smelled of mice with louvred windows peering into a ventilation shaft festering with a great deal of mould. I drove a beer into my stomach to take the edge off and grabbed the phone (it didn't work of course had to call the desk dill in to work a turn key), checking the recommendations in our rough guide. We found a vacancy near the cathedral.
As we departed the queenstar lobby, I was handed the phone. It was the unscrupulous desk clerk of a ratbag at the Hanoi Queen II. A terse argument ensued. I endeavoured to eviscerate his corrupt soul. I took him apart with a flurry of hard nouns he would have gotten the gist of because the next thing I knew he had lost his cool, raised his voice and effectively snapped. He shouted in my ear and then he hung up the phone. Linda Hunt eat your heart out. Unbeknownst to me, he had whispered dark voodoo vengeance upon my vacation experiences. I would pay.
The next hotel was clean with balcony and our holiday companions, Blake Menzies and the Great Contessa, over from Macao, were right around the corner from us. We walked over and raided their fridge. They were watching Indochine on the laptop and never looked some goddamn life-affirming. We needed them more than they needed us to be sure and they would deliver by God...
*the remaining manuscript has been lost*