Ho Chi Minh City – Coconuts…

Hustling remains in HCMC but in a subtler calmer sense compared to Hanoi. Feeling untouchable for almost an entire month, no scam would get me. I fell victim of a scam, particularly a coconut scam.

We were waiting across the street and a gentleman carrying coconuts. Willingly gave us advice about our cell phones by not using them out in the open because scooterists would snatch them as they ride by. Jamie, the coconut guy, and I, begin crossing the street. At this point I knew he wanted to sell us a coconut. Reaching inside his container, he pulls out a coconut and begins handing it to me. I told him no. I don’t want it. This is where things take a turn. Remaining nice, he stubbornly said “here, here, it’s free.” That should have been my first red flag. Silly me thinking, oh a free coconut, I take it without hesitation. Then he goes after Jamie. Gullable me at this point was like, Jamie he wants to give you a coconut. Keep in mind, he never said free or mention of any price. Hands her a coconut, pulls out a machete, opens both our coconuts. We were about ready to walk away and the coconut guy stops us and said 115,000 dong looking directly at Jamie and her coconut. Contributing to the idea of a free coconut to Jamie, I am defeated. Not only did I fall victim to the scam, we found out hours later, ordering lunch, the coconut juice from the coconut was only 18,000 dong. Now, I’m crushed. No longer untouchable and learned nothing is “free.”

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