In quest of an outlet to print a couple of documents stored for safe keeping on a 16 GB flash drive, I was advised to make my way to a certain street in the neighbourhood.
“You will find a print shop there,” my friend Kimmy told me.
Off I went looking for the place. I proceeded up the road she indicated and made a left on to Nguyen Cong Tru Street. I had walked the length of this street since coming to town approximately three weeks earlier but had no recollection of having passed a print shop along this stretch. It’s just a few doors down, my friend said.
I looked carefully as I walked east. I passed the doors of residences and businesses but failed to locate the print shop Kimmy had assured me was there. I turned around when I could go no further east and retraced my steps. This time I was in luck. High on one of the walls, I saw the lettering Printing Business. This had to be place.
I made my through the open front doors and into a space more like the entrance of a private residence than a business as such. Undaunted, I fished my flash drive from the zipped pocket of the bag I was carrying and showed it to the man approaching me.
“Hello,” I said. “I’d like to copy a couple of things from this, if I can.”
Conversant in English, the middle-aged man indicated that his was not a ‘printing business’ like the one I was seeking. Rather, he was involved in offset printing. My need was not urgent by any means and I would have troubled him no more except he graciously ushered me inside.
“Sit down, please,” he said.
I slipped off my shoes and followed him, taking the seat he pointed out while he moved into one nearby. He was prepared to help me with my need after all, in a few moments. In the meantime he asked the young boy with him to pour and bring me a glass of water. The June heat being oppressive, I drank while I answered his questions about my stay in Vietnam. It was my fifth visit to the country, I said, but my first time in Da Nang.
“Where are you from?”
My genial host had some knowledge of my country. He spoke of the giant Australian enterprise BHP Billiton, the Anglo-Australian multinational mining, metals and petroleum company headquartered in the city of Melbourne. They had operated in Vietnam in the past, when he had worked in another business undertaking.
“They started in Broken Hill, a country town in New South Wales,” I told him. “In what we call the outback.”
The person we were waiting on, a young woman, appeared and led us over to a table upon which sat a laptop computer. She took my flash drive and inserted it in one of the USB ports. The list of documents, photographs and other items stored on the drive showed on the street. I pointed out the two I wanted copied and watched as the attached printer did its work.
“How much do I owe you for that?” I asked, turning to leave.
I thanked the three for their kindness and went on my way, thinking that I had rarely had such a pleasant trip to a print shop. Da Nang would continue standing out for the friendliness of many of the locals met during my six-week stay. Language could be a barrier but was rarely a great impediment when good will existed all round.