Getting out of the Vincom Center

Tonight I read EJ’s horrifying Airbnb story, and then moved on to read the other posts on her blog. She’s a surprisingly talented writer, and I’m quite engaged by her prose.

One experience I can relate to comes from a post titled It’s not all beautiful:

Multiple levels, directional signs leading to nowhere… enter the great labyrinth at your own risk, and be prepared to fight for your escape. After-hours is particularly complicated, when the shops close, the teenagers go home, escalators and exits are sealed off, and the lost and confused (like me) get trapped inside. More than a few times, I have inadvertently exited the Metro into this underground horror, and have spent upwards of 20 minutes desperately trying to get out. I wish I were joking.

Well, there’s a similar situation here in Vietnam, at the Vincom Center, a shopping mall built not too long ago. Quite a few times, I found myself trapped inside the building, with only one hard-to-reach exit as the sole way out. When the mall closes, they shut down the elevators and escalators, lock most of the doors, and have security guards refusing passage through some other routes. There’s just one (or maybe two) predefined exits that late-stayers can take, and finding that exit (and walking to it) takes a bit of effort.

It has been months since I last got trapped in the Vincom Center, so perhaps things are different now.

Still, it always struck me as a very strange state of affairs. Guess it’s not so uncommon– it even happens on the other side of the world (in France). Then again, Vietnam was a French colony in the past…

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