Adventures as Miss Saigon

My new man

Posted on: March 15, 2011

Who knew this would happen to me while I was in Vietnam…I never would have thought it was possible! He leaves me with butterflies in my tummy and I find myself counting down the time between our next encounter. I’m physically drained and emotionally exhausted from this whole experience.

Let me explain…my new man is my new xe om (motorbike taxi) driver, Cal. I started working on Monday with a new client who lives on the other side of town. I have a motorbike driver that takes me to and from J’s house every day, but he’s a friend of J’s family (or part of the extended family) and doesn’t speak any English, making our interactions challenging and brief. On Monday, after coming home from J’s, I went out to the street corner where several xe om guys hang out. Usually when I walk past these guys yelling out “madame, madame, motorbike”, my instinct is to always brush them off…today I came looking for one and there was no one there! Then from behind me, I heard his voice… “Motorbike?”

After showing him the address that I needed to go to, he nodded his head, and I hopped on the back of his bike. I had brought my own protection (I have my own helmet…stop your dirty minds!), and for 45 minutes, he took me for a ride. Down back alleys barely wide enough for two bikes, across bumpy bridges and through busy traffic. He took me places that I had never been and could never have imagined. When we arrived at my destination, there was an awkward exchange of phone numbers (Cal seems to know a bit of English, but is far from fluent) and with a few hand signals, we arranged for Cal to pick me back up at 5:30.

When I was done work, Cal was waiting by his bike. With a smile on his face, he jumped up and we were on our way back to my apartment. Today, as I passed by the area where Cal picked me up yesterday, he spotted me and yelled hi and waved. I texted him this afternoon to let him know “same same as yesterday”, and he was waiting for me when I came out to meet him. Hopefully, it will be “same same” for the time that I need to get out to District 2.

My only question now is, when it’s time for me to head back to Canada…how do you break up with your xe om guy?


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March 2011
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