For anyone following my tense predicament with the Vietnamese visa authorities, described in "Red Tape", I'm pleased to announce that I indeed recieved my extended visa on Thursday, which made my wonderful trip to Saigon possible.
On Tuesday, I had been frantic that I wouldn't get my passport and visa back in time for the flight to Saigon and I desperately begged the administrative assistant, Mr. Vinh, to do whatever it takes to get it back in time. I was greatly relieved when Mr. Vinh brought out my passport on Thursday. It had a small sticker reading $10--the official visa extention fee that I was happy to pay. "But," Mr. Vinh added sheepishly, "there was a special 200,000 dong [$13] fee that you need to cover."
I happily forked over this modest fee, the first, and probably not the last bribe I'll have to pay in my time.