Shoppin’ ain’t easy.

Advice for my past self: Just because you told your bank you were in Vietnam once, won’t stop the fraud department blocking your Visa card this time.

They won’t object to you pulling cash — up to your surprisingly still-extant daily limit — but as soon as you try to buy a laptop, it’ll fail abnormally. (That was the actual error, “abnormal failure”.)

Once that’s happened, even after you burn a few dollars on international calls to unblock the card, Vietnam’s Visa system will reject you all afternoon.

Also, just ask the girl at the counter where you can buy Vinaphone recharges. (Not Vinaphone Sim cards. That’s a different thing they don’t sell…) Four laps of the store won’t reveal anything more than the Vinaphone recharge sign over the women’s clothing isle told you the first time.

Speaking of asking girls, the Sony Centre shop assistants _can_ ignore you for a half hour without making eye contact. Don’t try to outlast them.

Once you’ve gotten all that done, paid for half a laptop with many laughs on the way (you may even get to participate if you listen closely) make sure you show the taxi driver the address written down. Even if he repeats it back to you, he can still take you to the wrong university.

Also, don’t forget to post this blog entry when it’s done, not three days later.

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