Skip to main content

She's a woman of the world / And easy-living girl with love for sale

lounge at the Park Hyatt Saigon
Last week a few of us were having a drink at the Park Hyatt Saigon. It's a luxurious 5-Star hotel, right smack in the middle of District 1, close to other 5-Star hotels such as the world famous Continental and the Caravelle. Some nights there's a pianist (and sometimes the pianist is accompanied by that awful American lounge singer who doesn't have much of a voice and knows it - her lack of confidence comes through in her singing, and it's painful to hear). But the surroundings are stunning, the service impeccable, the chairs and couches in the lounge are low and comfortable. They also do high tea on weekends, which is truly excellent; tea served in gorgeously carved silver pots that I covet and want to stash in my bag if given the chance. I had the good fortune of living at the Park Hyatt for two days when I first arrived in Saigon - and then I moved to Go Vap for one month, but that's another story.

It had been a long day, and I leaned back into the couch cushions, sighed, and wearily looked around. There was an older American guy sitting by himself at the table across from me, drinking his way through a bottle of Bordeaux. He was busy looking at his phone, like most everyone does these days. Pretty soon afterwards he was joined by a very young Vietnamese woman wearing the tiniest booty shorts creeping right up her ass and super tall platform heels. A server rushed over to present her with an empty wine glass, and the now enthusiastic guy poured in some of his wine, saying something along the lines of how special the wine was.  I stopped focusing on them as my friend Sveta was saying something to me, but I did notice that the girl pulled out her phone and started typing into it. "Poor guy", I thought. "She can't even be bothered to spend 30 seconds with him before she gets bored and calls her friend". I chatted with Sveta a bit and out of the corner of my eye saw the girl give her phone to the guy. He said something into it, handed her back the phone; they got up and headed towards the elevators, half the bottle of Bordeaux still on the table, her wine glass untouched. Wait... what the hell just happened?

At this point, Sveta and the rest of my table figured out what was going on and we all leaned in closer to each other, furiously whispering about it, like gossipy old ladies. Not 15 minutes later, the guy came back down into the lounge, alone. The staff, who had not cleared his table, came to take her glass away and he poured himself some more Bordeaux, looking satisfied, staring at his phone.

And we all stared at him, eyes wide, totally agog, totally grossed out.

You hear about this kind of shit happening a lot. I mean, the hotel does have a martini bar at the far end of the lounge, where i've seen many a lady of the evening stroll in and out of before. But I guess i'm so naive as to think it would never happen so blatantly at a place as posh as the Park Hyatt's lounge, early evening, surrounded by rich Hong Kongese having tea and scones.  And as we looked around the lounge, nobody else seemed to notice, and the staff didn't seem to care. Made me wonder how often they are subjected to this kind of situation.

High Tea offerings. they don't suck.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

potato, potah-to.

During my first few months living here, I played with a computer program to learn Vietnamese.  Unfortunately I didn’t learn much (I have serious trouble remembering vocabulary words, something that never happened to me before while learning another language).  But I couldn’t figure out why nobody understood a word I was saying.  It wasn’t until a Saigonese friend told me she didn’t like to visit Hue or Hoi An because she could not understand the locals before I realized that, like everywhere else in the world, Vietnam has different accents.  Complete ignorance and stupidity on my part.  After all, there are distinct accents in the US, and even amongst the Southern states there are subtle differences if you pay attention. When I lived in Savannah, Georgia in the late 1990s I noticed how the local drawl was vastly different than the Mississippi accent that my great aunts Ima Lee and Lula Mae had.   I’m not making this up; my Dad’s side of the family are as Southern as Southern can get.…

Drynuary.

So I participated in Whole30.

And I’m not going to bore you with the details of what I ate every single day, which is why I didn’t post about it throughout the month.  At the end of December when I mentioned to a few people that I was going to do this cleanse, most of the responses were incredulous. “But why? Why deprive yourself?”, was the main feedback I got. Let me tell you why.

December, and let’s be frank, November, were full of holiday spirit, in all definitions of the word. My boss hosted various lunch and dinner parties, and I spent a lot of my free time imbibing and eating pretty much everything in sight. Hey, it’s Christmas, that’s what we’re supposed to do, right?  In the beginning of December, I noticed a few days of indigestion, but firmly pushed it out of my mind as I didn’t have time to think about it. I kept cooking, and that included a lot of baked things, chocolate, crazy Australian desserts I’d never heard of before (something called a White Christmas which is basi…

walking.

It’s raining in Saigon. Again. We’re supposed to be out of the rainy season, but I don’t mind it. December seems to be a few degrees cooler than the other months, and the rain brings the temperature down a bit more.

Tonight, while walking back from dinner through the streets of Đa Kao, it was pleasant enough for me to wear a sweater (not a heavy one, but at least something long sleeved), and the rain misted down gently as I circumnavigated some of the near-empty side streets and hẻms on my way home. In high school, one of my great friends was a kid named Andrew who lived with his mom on Quai de Bourbon on the Ile Saint Louis, in two rooms with uneven flooring, high ceilings and hand-painted support beams.  The stone stairs on the way up to the apartment were polished to a shine and worn down by the thousands of feet that scampered up and down them over the centuries. I never met Andrew’s mom; she seemed to be away on business trips a lot, so a few of us would gather at his place in th…