Day 4 – 13th November
Well, for me anyway. I discover I have had money stolen from my room. Not all of it, just enough that I wouldn’t notice so it could have happened anytime since we have been here. I know I should use the safe, but there isn’t one in this place so it was a matter of hiding it away and hoping for the best. This is the first bad experience we have had here, but one positive comes of it. The couple of Vietnamese friends I told about it were very concerned and pleaded that we don’t judge the Vietnamese people by the actions of one. Maybe I’m an old softie, but to me it was incredibly endearing. Sorry if I seem patronising, I don’t mean to be.
With some quick phone calls to Mark, our man in the town we discover nothing can be done so pack the cases and get going to the airport. A 24 hour visit to Hanoi awaits.
This time at the airport the security staff don’t like the look of so many guitar leads in our hand luggage and Jon and I are sent back down to check them in. Time is running short and we feel exasperated waiting in line to go through the scanners for a 3rd time as some English businessman holds us up. He hasn’t taken his computer out of his bag like the sign says, so he goes through again. He hasn’t removed his belt like the sign says, so he goes through again, he hasn’t got rid of his liquids like everyone knows you have to so goes through again. With minutes to spare we manage to get through and in true British fashion glance with mild contempt at the fat businessman rather than actually saying anything.
Arriving in Hanoi and driving to the venue with Phu, our local tour manager you can’t help but notice how different the feel is here from Saigon. Plus it’s a perfect 21 degrees rather than an energy sapping 33. The buildings are different, the people are different, but my literary skills are too under developed for me to be able to accurately describe the difference, so I’ll just stick with; it is somehow a bit less colourful, but just as cool.
The venue is Hanoi Rock City and it is the closest thing we have found here to what we’d consider a regular gig venue. The focus is all on the music and the place is simple, painted black and has that dirty rock n roll feel that the Astoria in London used to have.
The show is probably the best one we have ever played. The set list feels right, the crowd respond like we’d choreographed the response ourselves and we play with more energy and passion than I have ever known us to.
After the show we went with Phu, D.A and the other Hanoi Rock City team guys to eat some bbq chicken, classic Vietnamese style on these tiny plastic chairs in the street. As the guy in charge of keeping track of the flights I was all too conscious of the fact we were getting really drunk, it was 3am and we had a flight in the morning for which we’d need to leave the hotel at 7am. The good time vibe got the better of us and after shutting our eyes for two minuts the alarm went off to signal the beginning of day 5.