Karen and I decide to go for a drink with some colleagues from the Vietnam News, and the place we ended up was the very same Red Mask bar where the lights went out during our last visit. We had been there for a little while this time when it happened again. Lights out! The steel gate slides closed and we get the " Shhhhhhhhhhh, police!" from the staff.
This time it was a little more exciting. A police truck pulls up out front with the lights flashing. Five or six uniformed, Vietnamese police officers milling about out front. They stand at the door, hands cupped to their face, trying to see in through the treated glass of the front doors. Then to our surprise a batton shoots through the gate and hits the latch of the gate. The metal door slides open and the police burst through the door with flashlights in hand blowing whistles. There were about two dozen foreigners in the joint that night, and the police herded us out in to the street. Of course, nothing happened to us. We were free to travel half a block down the street to a bar that had done their civic duty and bribed the police. There, we were able to finish the bottles of beer from the Red Mask in peace and lumination.
The moral of this story..... ALWAYS BRIBE YOUR LOCAL AUTHORITIES!!
The absolute best part was when the police tried to leave and their truck wouldn't start. They had to get local street people to push their truck away. Totally emasculating, eh?