If you’ve been following my Facebook posts, you know I collect Hard Rock Cafe pins. I have pins from 33 Hard Rock Cafes from around the world that I have personally visited. The last one was at Hard Rock Angkor in Cambodia which I wasn’t even aware of its existence. It isn’t a criteria for visiting a place, but if there’s one where I’m going, I try to get to it and pick up a couple of pins.
I usually have internet access available on my phone, but Vietnam is one of the place that my cellular plan doesn’t include in their coverage. Since we’re on a budget, I don’t feel the need to pay extra just to have that connectivity. I just use the WiFi in the hotel. Normally, I would look up the Hard Rock when I have internet access, but somehow it slipped my mind (old age) and I didn’t think of it until we saw a Starbucks in the expensive part of town. I couldn’t get a Hanoi coffee mug (too difficult to pack or ship), but it reminded Sheri that we should see if there’s a Hard Rock in Hanoi.
We stopped in at a small electronics store that specialized in Apple products. I was looking for a European plug for my MacBook’s AC adapter, and as an aside, I asked the guy if he knew if there was a Hard Rock Cafe in Hanoi. His English was pretty good and he said he would Google it to find out. A few seconds later, he was happy to report that, yes, there was a Hard Rock in Hanoi and it was only 3 km. away. He flashed the screen of his phone at me, but it was too close for me to see (old age, again), so I asked that he write down the address for me in Vietnamese.
I was feeling pretty good. Armed with an address, we decided we would take a taxi to find my next pin. Hailing a cab, we got in, showed him the address, and we were on our way. We even decided we could eat there and take a break from the local food. There was the usual traffic and some sights along the way, but I did follow along on my phone with my downloaded Google map of Hanoi just to make sure our driver wasn’t taking us for a ride. After about 20 minutes, he rolls to a stop and says something in Vietnamese to indicated that we had arrived.
To my despair and amusement, we had indeed arrived…at the Hot Rock Cafe. It was a small restaurant right on the main drag in an area that obviously wouldn’t have the clientele for a Hard Rock. A man sitting outside the restaurant was trying to tell us that it was closed at that time, so we didn’t even get to eat there. All we could do was laugh about it. We later discovered that Vietnam does have a Hard Rock Cafe in Ho Chi Min City.