UPDATE: A travel blogger friend has messaged me with an opinion about my observations below. She mentioned that if I wrote “Blogger” as my occupation on the visa application (and I did), then this could possibly draw a certain note of interest, because in some countries bloggers are often viewed as activists. Even more plausible, though, is that perhaps the hotel saw the entry when confirming our passports, and decided to pay us the utmost attention and service in order to get a positive review. Good food for thought!
So, I’ve had a few questions about my blog post on Hanoi, where I stated we felt like we were being followed and monitored everywhere we went, even within the hotel. No, I don’t assume that three lady school teachers would arouse the suspicion of the Vietnamese government, and, no, I don’t think anybody could mistake us for spies! Lol
And, no, I don’t suggest that the maids at the Sofitel Metropole work for the Vietnamese Secret Service! Lol
But, there were a few things that gave us this feeling that I described.
The first was when I left my mom and Sandra after the bunker tour. After quickly scribbling a note in the guest book they had for hotel guests who take the tour to sign, I headed up to our room alone. By chance I rode the elevator up with an attendant (who I had not seen/met before) and he made some friendly conversation and noted, “You are staying in room 625, right?” Um… He should not know what room I was in, should he? This was the first thing that gave me a curious feeling.
The next was when we were checking out a day later. Again by chance we rode the elevator down with possibly a hotel manager. The manager inquired about our stay, stating our room number, knowing that we had left for a night in Ha Long Bay, inquiring as to Sandra’s hair appointment in the salon, asking how we enjoyed the bunker tour and even noted that he knew two of us had signed the guest book after the tour. (Um, yeah, that’s a lot of information for a total stranger to know about three school teachers!)
It may have just been excellent customer service by the hotel, in which case it was extraordinary! And being a top luxury hotel, maybe it was. But it felt downright creepy and as if they had been keeping tabs on us! And, doing some research, I just read where the Canadian government advises their citizens who travel to Vietnam that hotel rooms and electronic transmissions may be monitored. Hmmmmm…
So, the three of us may be overreacting… or if it quacks like a duck… Lol