MullerHitchhiking Vietnam
Page 196

I ducked inside the guesthouse to snatch up my camera and capture the last few rays of sunlight - and ran smack into three policemen drinking whisky in the sitting area behind the receptionist's chair. They saw me at the door and waved me over, and I was trapped.

They were bachelors and had only recently been assigned to the tiny village. They lived on the second floor of the guesthouse and had their tea every morning with the lady of the house. They jostled and muttered among themselves, then decided to entrust me with their carefully-kept secret. "We are learning English," they whispered solemnly. When I offered my services they broke into huge smiles and whipped out three dog-eared texts, all unintelligible rejects from the Czechoslovakian school system. We spent the next two hours laboriously enunciating a string of b's and v's and k's the likes of which my tongue had never encountered. By the time I finally escaped to a shower and some food I was sure they would never learn English with the resources at their disposal, and they were equally certain that I had never spoken it in the first place.