Asia | South East Asia | Vietnam | Mekong Delta | Chau Doc – ‘Bodia Beckons, Beeeeyatch
1- I’m off on a trip up a mountain to catch sunset anon, and thus this WILL be short.
2- Nha Trang aside, the last coupla weeks have been fairly low key, and thus this WILL be short.
3- I’m in the sweltering heat of the Mekong, and cannae even think of a three, and thus this WILL be short.
But the hairy Arab shitster (finally) left. And we found ourselves in the beach resort town of Nha Trang. And I’m thinking, in the words of the great Pato Banton, ‘After the staaaaarm, there must be a, C-A-L-M settle-settle it name, caaaaaaaalm’. Did we chill? Did we Buddha. Did we Roger. Did we Jack and Jill. As usual, when in the company of a pissed-up Yank (Dave was on the mourn having left his woman), we hit town, and we hit it rude-style.
The first thing I’ve got to say about Nha Trang is “tart”. Now everyone out there knows that I ain’t no fucking slapper, in fact I hardly pull let alone go out on the pull, but for some bizarre reason (I reckon it’s the heat… plus the fact that there’s an obscene amount of scantily clad Western women on the loose… plus the fact that one has consumed a lot of alcohol, hasn’t one…) I tarted it in style in Nha Trang. The fact that one of the women was separated from her husband and another has turned into a serious stalker does not detract from my “accomplishments”. But I won’t go into detail on this. Suffice to say that I spent most of the five or six days we spent in taaaan being a tarty little beeeeyatch. What I will prat on abaaaat is Matt, Will and the two Swedes. This one (swelteringly hot) night in a bar on the beeeeyatch, Yanky and Kiwi (Will, Kiwi fucker, madman, lawyer, off his trolley, madman, one of those guys who has a permanent red-eye look due to being either hungover or obscenely pissed, to the extent that he became incomprehensible when drunk, and I ain’t talking normal-drunk-incomprehensible, I’m talking LITERALLY you couldnae understand a SINGLE FUCKING WORD the nutter was saying e.g. “Zin farsel ifth chilk, etc. etc.”, madman), but where was I, yes, they are in a bar on the beeeyatch, and I leave them with Matt trying to chat up a group of Swedish girls (one nice, one average, one minger). Anyway, the story goes that good-looker left, and Matt and Will end up on the “dancefloor” (stop it) with the other two. And they have their tops off, so they’re dancing in their bras (then she took off her braaaaaaaaaa, you know what I saaaaaaaaaaaaaaw), and it’s Westerner-doing-Ibiza-style. And one’s going to Will about how she likes women as well. Next thing they know, the two girls are snogging each other, and leave. Nuff said. In addition to all this, the Omar-pulling-flamers stakes increased. This one night and we’re in this after hours place that doubles as a bar-nightclub. It’s not legal. The music goes off and the lights come up every so often as a police car goes by. But I detract or diverge or digress or whatever the cunting word is. Anyway, it’s seething with heat. So I take my shirt off, in true clubber-stylee. And immediately there’s these two obviously completely gay guys eyeing me up. One keeps touching my chest. Another goes “You make me hot”. High sea (i.e. I see)… This other really short gay guy keeps coming up to me, pulling sweat of my dripping chest (do I make you horny, baby?) and rubbing it on his mate. This other gay guy comes over to me and says “Are you straight or gay?” and I go “That’s my girlfriend over there” and he says “That’s my boyfriend over there. I just wanted to tell you that you look nice. Gay people know who’s a nice person and who isnae (yes, he spoke in a Scottish accent, alright)”. Then he comes over to me a half hour later and says “Do you have a problem with gay people?” and I say “No” and he says “Because gay people are good people, and you are a good person, etc. etc.” High sea… All of which took my tally up to about 391 mincers in 6 weeks in Nam. Impressed?
So it goes without saying that we spent the vast majority of time in Nha Trang sausaged. And aside from more lazing on beeyatches, massages on the beeeeyatch, footie and ultimate fizzbee on the beeeyatch, and bars and food on the beeeyatch, only two “real” “activities” (enough with the quotation marks, King) took place. Foist:
After one particularly pissed night out at the bars, and after us all having had only two hours kippage, we wake up to go on a boat cruise. We’d been told that we HAD to do one of these. Basically, you go around some of the surrounding islands, do some snorkellage, swimming, etc., and get sausaged. And straight away I’m thinking “Brits Abroad”, but it’s cheap, and we had a nice group together so we think “fuck it, let’s do this”. So we grab some brekkie, still pissed out of our asses, Will with his red eyes, and get on a boat at 8am or summat. And as soon as the boat inches away from the port, our nutter of a captain comes upstairs, walks straight over to our group, ignoring every other motherfucker on the boat, and says straight at me “Do you want a beer?” And sheepishly all seven of us resign ourselves to the fact that we have to get pissed immediately, and slowly seven hands raise themselves into the air. And within one beer, we’re right back where we were the night before: Cunted. We go over to one island, jump off the boat, attempt some snorkelling which was almost non-existent, to the extent that this other guy on the boat comes back and goes “HEY! I’ve seen a plastic bag!”, and I go “Oh yeah?! Was it big??”, and he puts his hands out to show me the sheer SIZE of this bag… awesome stuff. Anyway we get back on the boat and cruise over to another island where we sit on the top of the boat, in the baking heat, and have a seriously nice seafood lunch. We then listen to the captain and two other guys play some music for us (“Balalalalabamba” in the most ridiculous Spanish accent, “I saw her standing there” in the most ridiculous Vietnamese accent, then Will and another Kiwi doing the Haka like a pair of nutters (madman), and finally Yanky’s rendition of “Hotel California” in the most ridiculous Yanky accent). At which point they bring out a floating bar, and we all jump in and have a drink and smoke from our floats. We then go to another island, by which stage we’re all absolutely rogered out of our nuts, and do some jetskiing and attempt some parasailing. I say attempt, because Davey went first and they nearly broke his legs trying to bring him back to land on the jetty, Will missed the jetty completely and ended up in some trees on a hill behind the resort, and I ended up in the middle of the fucking ocean due to Will ending up in some trees on a hill behind the resort. But it was awesome fun, and we finally went back to some other island with a fishing village, and cruised back to land. Where we continued to get pissed. Broken record, innit. Either way, it was Brits Abroad, but a fucking good laugh.
El segundo thing that we actually went away from the bitch to do, was to rent some scooters and go to a waterfall. We hiked a little to some rocks where we did some quality cliff-jumping off some pretty fucking high rocks and swam in a waterfall cave. And then we rode in the pitch black round the lanes of a mountain to get back, with convoys of trucks and buses screaming round corners at us. Awesome buzz. And then we got back to Nha Trang…. and….
And by this stage Dutchwoman had returned to the fold. And although ting an ting werenae going as fantastic as before, we decided we’d carry on together a little, and rented a Mercedes minibus, driver and guide to take five of us (Davey, Yanky, Dutchwoman, Kippage (mad, alcoholic Dutch geezah who couldn’t stop saying “Shut the fuck up, Omar” (another one to add to the list), and myself) on a four day trip through the central highlands of Nam down to Saigon. And this is where things get low key…
IN A SERIOUS WAR RELIC STYLEEEEEEE
We take the jeep nice and early (alright, 10ish) and start our journey north to Pleiku. And not much happened. Coffee plantations. Helping a little truck that had toppled over in the middle of the road and sprayed its logs everywhere. Being told by our guide that there was nothing to see as the local ethnic minority community were lazy and were thus all asleep. Stayed the night in Kon Tom. Ate. Dead town 1.
The next day we got a local guy to take us through some of the old war remains. So we drive for an hour to Hill 42, scene of a major battle with the U.S. And we start walking. And the war remains are unbelievable, I tell ya. We saw a hole! Yes, a hole! And it was BIG! At LEAST the size of a big puddle! And then we carried on walking and saw a bullet shell! Oh, it was awesome, I tell ya. You could almost hear the war cries from the Viet Cong ringing through the air. And after bring told that one of the hills way in the distance was Charly Hill, all I could think was that it was very distinctly possible that the whole thing was a plant to bring in some tourists. But having said that, I still had lots of mad thoughts about how it was mad that a war of such epic proportions (more tonnage of bombs were used in that war than on all the war sites of WWII) and one which is so recent in living memory, could be used so touristically all through the country, and that the people could still smile at all the foreigners and particularly Yanks floating round the country. And contemplated whether it was in fact WRONG that we were doing all this. But also our guide was quality, and made us laugh, what with all his stories of ethnic minority women and how they treat their male guests, and how breasts were called “Children’s toys” and minges “Adult’s toys”. And we got back in the jeep and went on to another waterfall, and walked round to yet another waterfall, and finally went back over the bridge to yet even another waterfall. And then we went and stayed the night next to a waterfall a few kilometres down the road. Awesome. No, seriously, it was actually a pretty awesome fucking place to stay the night. Bonus was that there were three absolutely fucking enormous snakes in a cage. With a duck. And apparently we may be lucky and watch feeding time at the zoo. So we got pissed. And woke up the next day to sit for a few hours gazing at the cage while one of the snakes shed its skin. But no duck harvest. So we drove down to Dalat, a French hillside mountain retreat, and dead town 2. And got in. And ate. You see where this is going…
The next day we moved on bright and early (you’re lying again, Arab) to visit another ethnic minority village which was actually fucking cool. We sat in the classroom with some kids (Me: “Hello”, Kid: “Waaaaaaaaaaaaaa”) and got the whole town out to stare at us. It was a really good trip all in all. Very chilled, still lots of boozage what with our guide plying us with Vietnamese rice wine every night, and interesting enough… and low key… We rounded off the trip by driving down to Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City, gateway to the Mekong, hopping off point to Cambodia, and where Will had promised us that his lawyer mate who worked in Saigon, and who had a four-storey house all to himself, complete with swimming pool, would put us up for a coupla days.
STILL LOW KEY IN SAIGON
After hearing lots of stories about the carnage and ugliness that was Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon turned out to be a pleasant enough city, with only slight mayhem, and a nice north weterly breeze; tonight will be foggy with light showers and (shut it). And low key. And Will’s mate’s Playboy Mansion didnae materialise, due to the fact that the police had warned him that he could not have any more people stayed there as the 14 people who were there were unregistered, and thus the place was either a hotel or a brothel (which turned out to be a fairly accurate description on both counts). Alright, we got rancidly slaughtered a couple of times within the four days, hijacking people’s cyclos and cruising the streets, but apart from that, we chilled it. Again, two ting gwaaaaan.
Me and the Mart (Dutchwoman) hit the War Remnants Museum (aka what used to be called “The Museum of American War Crimes”, so you can see how objective a take on the war this was going to be). What a museum. It was actually well-displayed by south-east Asian standards, but Jesus Mary and Joseph was it biased. There was one section which had recreated copies of the jails that the Viet Cong were tortured in, together with the original guillotine used to chop their bonces off. Another section had photographs of people who had since suffered as a result of the usage of Agent Orange and other chemical womens (womens? weapons) by the Americans, together with glass cases housing the machine guns and rocket launchers they used against the VC. It was pretty fucking horrific.
The secong ting we did was to go to the horseraces. After having attempted to do this the day before after Will had told us he was going down with his mate and three Vietnamese geezers, only to have basically seen one horse in a cage and only three people there (who were basically warming down from a jog round the track) due to the place being CLOSED WILL, IT WAS CLOSED, we finally hit jackpot on Sunday. Wicked place. Really old, with a sand track, really unimpressive horses who found the idea of actually running round a track quite difficult, and 14-year-old jockeys. But lots of atmosphere. So we took to the stands and started placing some bets. Which took us a while to work out. But essentially you have to place both first AND second horses in the race. And they won’t allow you to bet on the two favourites coming first and second. So we gambled for the last five of the seven races. And won jackshit.
After a final night of being taken out on the taaaan by my mate from when I was a kid (Khalid, owns and runs the biggest chain of language schools in the whole of Nam), and having yet even another story which I cannae mention here, we left Saigon, deciding that we were not going to do another tour, and were gonna hit the Mekong hindependently.
BOATS, BOATS, BOATS
Day 1: After buying over 30 CDS in HCMC, took a bus to My Tho. Dead town number 4. Low key.
Day 2: Took a boat to Vinh Long for a whole day. Awesone stuff. Our boat operator and his two boat chums bought a load of rice wine and we cruised through the mud of the Mekong to Vinh Long. Chilled, beautiful, low key. Dead town 5 (although an interestingly gay sea front, where ladyboys and exTREMEly affeminate guys attacked us briefly). Highlight: I won my first ever game of chess. Albeit, it was against a woman, but I’m aiming to beat a man within the next couple of weeks…
Day 3: Took a boat to Long Xuyen for a whole day. The boat was so fucking dodgy it had not lights. So that by the time we actually got to our destination, Matt had been lying on the front bow of the boat, holding a torch out to sea. A: We had to be out of the country by the next day due to Davey’s visa running out, and a 500 dollar fine for any form of overstaying skills. B: We’d worked out that we could get to the border town of Chau Doc from Long Xuyen, only 100km away. C: Martine could get back to HCMC where she needed to get north to re-meet with her fwend, from Long Xuyen and not from Vinh Long. So we got to Long Xuyen. And realised there was no way to get to Chau Doc. So we stayed the night in a quality hotel. Dead town 6.
Day 4: We jump a bus to Chau Doc. And realise we can’t get across the border. But there’s no worries abaaaat overstaying the visa for one day we’ve been promised. So we’re staying here the neet. And this is where I is. I be in Chau Doc. Where the 738th person has grabbed my hair and said “You monkey” and where we await the morrow, when we boat it down to Phnom Penh, to hit the Bodia where a number of people await, not least Will (madman), Pete from Wales (Welsh), Eileen (of “The Eileen Confession” fame), and Joel/Suzie (disabled British Jews), and where we have plans to hire out an army helicopter to fly us over Angkor Wat. Considering my fear of flying, it looks like a return to the ole Vallie days. Here we go again, good people!