I am officially the world’s worst planner. Not only that, I’m also a strong contender for the gold medal in the World’s Worst Executioner of Bad Plans competition.
Let me explain:
I’m back in Saigon, Vietnam since yesterday, for one of my business trips I regularly go here for. This time, however, I have some other errands to attend to. I have to be at the Thai-General Consulate to sort out some paperwork, and I had prepared everything in advance before my arrival here, which is a major accomplishment for the complete bonehead that is me.
So after a very mediocre breakfast at my hotel, I put on my fancy clothes and headed out to the busy street outside, jumped into a cab, and shouted “TO THE THAI-GENERAL CONSULATE, STAT!” to the cabby.
I arrive there, feeling fresh and smooth as hell after a very pleasant and air-conditioned cab ride, start to complete my paperwork, which I had started to complete back in Bangkok, but not finished, with a red ballpoint pen. They didn’t have that colour here, so I had to settle for the standard blue version. I danced my way up to the lady behind the counter, handed her all my paperwork, documents and letters, only to discover that they couldn’t process any applications written with a red colour. I’m not sure about that though, it could also be that they don’t accept applications written in multiple colours, looking like a colour-blind 4-year-old had written it. So I had to write a new one from scratch, in blue. Congratulations to me. I somersaulted my way back to the lady, gave her my updated stuff, only to realise I had forgotten my passport back in the hotel reception.
“FUCK!”, I yelled, while I was struggling to maintain a calm, cool surface. I headed back to the hotel, grabbed my vital travelling document, and headed back to the consulate as quickly as I could, now frustratingly sweaty despite the air-con in the cab.
It’s important to point out that I had to complete my application before 11.30am today in order to receive my documents back tomorrow afternoon, so I don’t miss my flight tomorrow evening. This accelerated my stressfulness and my increasing heartbeat, making me nervous and even more sweaty.
So now I’m back at the consulate, and have all my shit in order. It’s time to pay for my application, which is 80USD. Do I have any US Dollar with me? No. I have my Dongs. Which they won’t accept. I need to exchange my Dongs to Dollars somewhere. The lady behind the counter tells me that I could do that across the street. Before sprinting over there, I ask her how much 80USD is in Dong, and she says 1,800,000 (yes, that’s 1,8 million).
I realise that I’m now inside Vietnamese Airlines, and I ask them for some USD for my Dongs. They want 2,120,000 DONG for 90USD (they didn’t have any smaller bills than 20’s, the little lady said). I pay and I get my 90USD. The little lady suspiciously counts the money I gave her, looking like things don’t add up. Things become clear when we both realise that I had only given her 1,120,000 Dong. An honest mistake, but still, I lacked almost 100% of what I gave her. I look down in my wallet for some more, only to now realise that I was not only out of cash, I had forgotten my credit card back in Bangkok. This is fucking brilliant. How the hell will I pay for this shit now, with no card and no cash?
Of course, I didn’t arrive in Vietnam without any card – I still had my Debit Card, which I highly doubted would work on the ATMs here. But it said “Visa” on the card, so I was nervously power-walking towards the closest ATM and put in the amount that I needed plus a little extra. Rejection.
I tried again with a slightly lower amount, suspecting it could be a security issue. Like a gift from above, it was, and I got my Dongs.
I sprinted back to the exchange store, got my USD, rushed over to the consulate, paid for my shit, and now I’m in a coffee shop, blogging about this badly planned and horribly executed quest.