As a thriving solo traveler I chose to take a trip to Vietnam, one of Asia’s top destinations for backpackers. I was bursting with excitement as I caught my flight from Manchester Airport in the U.K to the bustling city of Ho Chi Min. Upon arrival I immediately felt vulnerable. I knew from here on out I was alone. That didn’t scare me, but it made me cautious and forced me to be careful during my trip. I was always aware of my surroundings and was always sure to be aware of who I was talking to. Of course as a solo traveler part of the experience was talking to strangers, so I had to be careful.
One particular night myself and a few friends decided to go out for drinks.
I had known these friends for almost three weeks and had begun to form a bond with them. We looked after each other, so going out for drinks hadn’t worried me. First we had pre-drinks at our Hostel in Dnang. Then at midnight we decided to go and check out a nearby bar called Maze. I hadn’t known what to expect, so when we arrived and the bar was actually laid out like a Maze, I can’t lie, I was impressed!
We stood in line waiting to enter the bar, then one by one we entered into the maze. At first we made sure to stick together, wandering through caves and large wooden doors. It was a very bizarre place, with three floors, each of which had a bar. When we found are way into the first bar I let my friends go ahead and wandered off to find a toilet. That was stupid of me because I could have gotten lost, luckily when I got back to the bar my friends were still standing there. We stood and chatted for a while until it was announced that the bar was closing. One friend suggested that we check out another club that wasn’t too far away. I hadn’t wanted to go, but my friends had and I decided it was easier to stick with them. I hadn’t wanted to get a taxi home alone.
When we arrived outside the club a young irish girl, a promoter asked us to follow her into the club for free shots. I refused the shot because I didn’t want to get too drunk, being in unfamiliar surroundings. I bought myself a bottle of Saigon, although I’m not a fan of beer. My parents have always warned me to cover my drink and I find it easier to do when I have a bottle.
I joined my friends on the dancefloor holding my drink firmly in my right hand, covering its opening with my thumb. As the bottle ran dry I headed back to the bar. A gent stood next to me asked if I would like a drink but I politely declined. I had already ordered myself a gin and lemonade, the beer was making me feel bloated. The gin was set in front of me as I stood next to this guy I had just met. I paid the barman and as I handed over the money the guy asked me ‘where are your friends?’ I turned to point them out on the dancefloor. I suspect that this is when he spiked my drink.
Speaking to him is the last thing I can remember, before ending up in the girl’s toilets throwing up excessively.
I knew something was wrong with me, as I looked at myself in the mirror I noticed my pupils had dilated. I didn’t feel like myself, the room was spinning and eventually I fell to the floor. I briefly remember a man trying to pick me up. I later found out this was the manager of the club.
When I got into the street I couldn’t get my balance, my legs began to feel like jelly and then they buckled beneath me. I tried to stand but I felt as though my legs couldn’t work. I was crawling on all fours before I decided to give up and go to sleep on the pavement. When I woke up I could see the brief outline of a body and a voice saying come with me. I could feel them tugging at my arm, but I couldn’t move. I shouted leave me alone.’ This is when I heard another voice saying do you know this man?’ I couldn’t see, at this point I had completely lost my vision. I panicked and began crying. I’m blind, I can’t see, I’m blind. I repeated. They asked me again if I trusted the man and I said no.
It was then that they told me they were going to help me.
This fellow solo traveler and his girlfriend had noticed I had been spiked. They said that I was not to worry as they were going to get me to somewhere safe. Then they each took me by the arm and held me up as I walked. I remember feeling like a toddler trying to walk for the first time. I couldn’t see a thing and I was terrified. I just keep asking ‘will I ever see again?’ They re-assured me that I would be ok.
The next day I woke in a 12 bed dormitory on the opposite side of town to where I had originally been staying. My head felt heavy and the room still seemed to be spinning. I couldn’t remember how I had got there but I was so grateful that I could see again. I was terrified to stand, still feeling as though I had no control over my legs. I lay in bed for what felt like three hours. Then a young couple entered the room and asked how I was feeling. It was then that I recognised their voices, they were the people who had helped me. I was seeing their faces for the first time.
I cried with joy and thanked them repeatedly for their help.
I had so many questions to ask and the answers terrified me. Ben was a twenty one year old from London who was also solo travelling, he said I was very lucky. When I heard of what had been happening I felt sick. My stomach turned as they told me how they saw me laying on the kirb with my skirt pulled up and a young man grabbing at my arm as though to take me elsewhere. They had noticed him and immediately come to my rescue. They had asked me where I was staying and if I had a phone to call friends, but I was too intoxicated to answer their questions. They searched for a phone in the small bum bag I had around my waist, but found nothing. It was then that they had decided to take me back to their hostel. They paid for a bed, knowing I would be safe in the dormitory.
I was a very lucky girl, I often wonder what may have happened had they have not been around. I did offer to give them money for their trouble but they refused to take it from me. They insisted that as travelers we all have to look out for one another. I will always be thankful and appreciative of their acts of kindness. It is frightening to think that the situation could have been a lot worse. I have learnt from this experience and I urge people to never let their guard down, not even for a split second.
Have you ever experienced your drink being spiked? Share your stories in the comments.
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A recent graduate based in Liverpool. I have a passion for writing, travel and good food.