We had both fallen asleep early so consequently we were both wide awake before the sun came up and ML and I both thought a cup of coffee would be a good thing. ML set the coffeemaker up and waited …….. and waited……….. and waited. Going by the fact that the white plastic has yellowed with age I am going to say that the percolator is not in the first flush of its youth, but I may be maligning it and it is supposed to work this slowly!!
Considering it was only making at maximum 5 cups it took 25 minutes to percolate. The coffee when we finally got to drink it was lovely but blimey. The carafe filled 2 mugs with enough left over for ML to have a half a mug refill, so now whoever wakes up first flicks the switch.
The next thing we discovered was that there was plenty of water just not hot water coming out of the taps. Visions of Vietnam floated by, but we are masters of the cold shower and were soon sorted but this was another mine field to face with the hotel staff.
I unpacked our cases and soon realised that hangers in fairly large quantities were needed so I put them at the top of a new shopping list and put a large number of clothes back in the cases. I hadn’t seen any hangers yesterday at the supermarket but then again I hadn’t been looking for them.
ML headed off to work and I was left to my own devices, now this has been known to be a recipe for disaster but not on this occasion. We had managed to accumulate quite a pile of laundry during our various journeys so the priority was to get it washed.
None of the chambermaids speak English, I tried channelling my inner Marcel Marceau but it wasn’t happening. In the end I took one of them into the bathroom showed her the pile of washing, picked one of the t-shirts up and rubbed it together as if I was washing it.
Lightbulb moment for the chambermaid and off our washing went in a plastic bag. I felt like I ought to wave it goodbye and of course there was the feeling of will it come back intact and the same colour it left. I am of course talking about underwear. It is always a bit like a game of Russian roulette putting white underwear in to be washed by a hotel.
I then explained that we had no hot water (mime and turning the hot tap), she held up one finger and disappeared and she came back with a receptionist who has a little bit of English. Understanding dawned and a repairman arrived. After much rummaging and muttering behind the cabin I was told I would have to move cabins as it couldn’t be fixed. I really couldn’t face packing everything again and said no we would stay put.
That I thought was the end of that but I was mistaken.
Next job was to set up my laptop and get online and try to find out what shops I could find, of course this was dependent on shops here having websites – something I must admit I take for granted but learnt that this wasn’t always the case especially in Vietnam.
Turns out I was right but on an expat website I found out that there was a supermarket just down the road from us called Maxi Palí which is a subsidiary of Walmart in Central America. ML and I had noticed it when we drove by but thought it was a warehouse. Turned out when we finally visited they sold a wide variety of recognisable food and homeware bits and pieces. It also contained a pharmacy, a small café and a Western Union/Banking outlet.
I was pulled away from my researches on the internet by a procession of men coming down the path of the cabin carrying what looked like a brand new water heater. For the next two hours the five of them removed the old heater and replaced it with the new one. The water that finally came out of the tap was if anything too hot but I wasn’t going to complain.
I made a sandwich for lunch from the supplies we had bought and found when I wanted to wash up that the bathroom sink didn’t have a plug so I had to wash and rinse under a running tap and stack things on a towel to dry. The after effects of jet lag dragged me into an afternoon snooze. I am like a cat in that when I need to sleep I just crash, just be grateful I don’t curl up in a patch of sunshine on the floor as I am told a used to do when small. I would be a somewhat larger obstacle now to navigate around.I spent the rest of the day after my snooze out on the patio online catching up with family and friends and looking for a new home.
The most important thing was to find a house we could rent so we could move out of the hotel and settle down. We couldn’t find any real estate agents as such and we had to resort to the internet. I had been looking online during the day and ML had during his lunchtime. After much searching we found the only house in the area that was for rent, most rental properties were either on the coast or further up the country and would have made ML’s commute to work very long. In addition after dark the roads aren’t lit and only those roads that have recently been resurfaced have cat’s eyes to show the road markings.
ML rang the number and it turned out to be a Russian called Boris who answered the phone, ML agreed to meet him in the car park of the hotel on Sunday morning at 9 am.
Now I’m sorry but a Russian, an assignation in a car park, visiting an empty house you’ve nearly got the plot line for a James Bond movie. I had visions of this hulking great, aging, bitter Russian ex KGB officer leading us off into the rainforest. He would then exact his revenge on us for some insult that the West has visited on him since the KGB’s dissolution after their failed coup in 1991.
But more of this later.