Asia | South East Asia | Vietnam | South Central coast | Nha Trang – And then she leaveth
After 3 days of complete fucking carnage coupled with 11 hours kippage over the last four nights, I write slightly hungover, and yet again with at least three whole weeks of activity. Bad news is that the hairy Arab shitster and my good self were unable to get it the gither to write a joint entry, but fuck it, let’s get this baby off the ground before I head down t’beeyatch for yet another snooze…
So she arrives at 7pm on a balmy (Lord, here he goes again with his ridiculous mince) Thursday night, and after wandering around the streets of Hanoi through some mad flower markets selling bloomers in anticipation of Tet (Vietnamese New Year), we get some chow and hit a bar for a few drinks. And Old Mother Hubbard is on good form. She’s not too jet-lagged, and not ridiculously phazed, considering she’s never been to south-east Asia before and seen anyfink like the sort of havoc this place excretes . As is usual on any night out with the shitster, we get fucking blasted, and I head home, with Aida and Yankyboy heading back to Aida’s plush three-star jobbie (alright, plush by mine and south-heast-hasian standards, ya pedantic caaaant). Aida walks into the hotel, and poshwoman behind the counter basically wants to charge Matt for going up to the room. Aida and Matt start with a polite attempt to explain that the room price is the room price, and not the price for the person IN the room. This endeavour at logic and rationality fails on the woman. So Aida’s trying to reason with the lady, “Look, bitch, he’s staying for free”. This valiantly persuasive effort again fails. So Aida just goes, “Right! Fuck this, I’m checking out”, and goes upstairs to get her things while Matt hangs around the lobby trying to talk to the woman. Aida comes back down with, pissed, with all her things packed into her rucksack and handbag, and poshbitch then says, “We’re going upstairs to check that you haven’t had anything from the minibar”, which is not such a ridiculous statement. But Matt’s having none of it, going “Oh, come on, this is crazy, she only arrived tonight, put her things in the room and hasn’t been back since. What are you twalking (he’s a Yank, remember) about, maaaaaaaan?” While Yankyboy’s coming out with this, aida’s nudging him going “Matt, shut it. Matt, keep quiet.” And Matt looks into her handbag and sees the entire contents of the minibar plus the hotel hairdryer, which she doesn’t even NEED as she’s bought her own, but it’s the principle of the thing, like. Anyway, they manage to get the hairdryer for free (yippee), pay for the minibar, and move helsewhere. Remember, people, this is the hairy one’s FIRST NIGHT in Nam. A taste of tings to come…
Due to the fact that much of the time spent with Aida involved a drink or fourteen, my memory fails me both in terms of content and chronology, and seeing as I currently have a hangover the size of Mother Teresa’s ballsacks, all I can say is that, at some point within Aida’s harrival, it was Tet. Aaahhh, actually I think it was the friday night, so it was Aida’s second day (this is thrilling stuff, Omar, get on with it). Tet is basically the single biggest celebration in Nam, rivalling and in fact exactly the goddamn same as Chinese New Year in China (no, seriously? in China? genius…). So we decided to join in. And got pissed. This was a sliiiiiiiiggggggghhhhhtly embarassing evening though, cos it turned into a proper Brits-abroad-style affair, with me and Dave, cunted out of our trees, running around the lake in Hanoi towards a stage that had been used by pop stars for the celebrations, waving a large Vietnamese flag between us. As if that isn’t a painful enough admission, we then climbed onto the vacant stage, and, still holding the flag between us, started singing “You are my Vietnam” to an ever-growing crowd of astonished onlookers. Riiiiiiight……..
And after more pissed evenings in the company of the Shitster, Yankyboy, I&I (Canadian girl Eileen), Davey and Braziliana (Luciana, Dave’s old lady), we decided to book a trip to Halong Bay for a few days. And even though we’re not into tours, Vietnam is a country geared up for the foreign posse not doing things indepenently, it being easier and cheaper (hang on a sce, I get deja vu, I think I’ve already ranted on abaaaaaat this). Either way, EVERYBODY who goes to Vietnam minces on about fucking A-MAY-ZING Halong Bay is, so we were expecting something fucking special…
HALONG WAY AWAY FROM SPECIAL, MAIFREN
I’ve got tree tings to say about Halong Mothercunting Bay, people:
1- It’s lovely. Limestone peaks, which I’ve seen before (in paradise, remember? Yangshuo…. aaaa, Yangshuo….) but are still awesome, especially because they’re basically sprouting out of the waters on the east coast of Nam (what other fucking coast does Nam have, ya fool?). BUT, the weather sucked shit. The sun only came out on day three as we were coming back. It rained at one point. I think you can see where I’m headed with this trip…
2- It’s totally organised tourism. People are bussed in, shipped about, bussed about, and bossed about, in their masses. And in our case, we were bossed about by one of the biggest tossers this side of Blighty. In the beginning, we just thought our tour guide was a bit annoying. Then I was thinking “Actually, he’s just plain dull. He’s a dullard.” When I was in Taiwan, me and Jayjay (Joey, for all those who know the mad bint) used to disagree about our views on people. If we met a twat, I’d always be like “No look, Joey, it’s a cultural thang”, arguing that we don’t really understand the culture, or language barriers are going on, or some other such mince. And Jay would always say, “No look, Omar, he’s a cunt.” And you know what? I’ve now realised she’s right. A cunt’s a cunt. Whatever fucking country you’re in. Whatever fucking language they’re speaking. There are cunts everywhere. And towards the end of the trip, our tour guide was officially categorised by the lot of us as a complete and utter, you guessed it, caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaant. The tosser. if it wasn’t “Okay, in four minutes we go”, it was a ridiculously dull, long-winded, mingesome account of some fairys and kings in cave story. My blood pressure’s going up just thinking about the fuck-shitting dickstabber.
3- In my rage, I’ve forgotten what this was.
But as is the case when you get a good group of people thegither, we still had a ball. Our first night was a drunken affair on the boat, culminating in Matt, Dave, myself and AIDA (believe it or not; “I would NEVER do this in England! Are you proud of me, huh, are you proud of me? I would NEVER do this in England!”) jumping off the boat at midnight to have a little shwim in the Halong waters.
But on day two we were back to the tour guide again.
Tour cunt: “Do you want to stay on a boat tonight or on the island?” (Cat Ba island was where we were due to spend the day)
Me: “We’ll stay on the boat, that’s what we booked.”
Evil tour bastard: “Okay, you must take your things off the boat.” (We’re all carrying our massive rucksacks, by the way)
Me: “And why in the name of Mincester United do we have to do that?” (I paraphrase)
Mincing tour fucker: “Because you must stay on a different boat.” (Logical, aye, that’s logical)
Me: “And why, pray tell, would we have to do that?”
Wanking tour shitlicker: “Because this boat is being used by other people during the day.”
And after much me-getting-irate-trying-to-explain-that-we-booked-to-spend-three-days-and-two-nights-on-a-boat-without-any-of-this-tours-and-caves-and-islands-nonsense, we got nowhere. So we all thought, fuck it, let’s stay on the island the neet. So we get our rucksacks on, get off the boat, geton a bus, take our rucksacks off, put them on again, get off the bus, walk into the hotel, take them off, and tourman is going “Okay, we are late, we have to go now on the walk around the island”. And at this point, we cracked. Dave and Luciana just walked away to get a coffee, Aida and Matt hung around the lobby, Eileen went off to buy some fags, and I hit the shitter for the first one of the day. And tourman started twitching.
To cut a now long story short, we ended up telling the tour guide he could have the day off, and we rented some scooters and cruised around Cat Ba island for the day, which was awesome fun, involving, among other tings, a best-of-three four-on-four volleyball game with some locals in exchange for a round of beers. And after a night of extra-extra-HEXTRA-fucking-large rums and what will be forever inscribed in mine and Yankyboy’s head as “The Eileen Confession” (wait for the movie, good people), we set off the next day back to Hanoi, this particular voyage including no less than 47 different rucksack changes per person.
And apart from a night watching the water puppets in Hanoi (nice, but maybe fifty minutes overlong (it was 52 minutes length)), and buying some molasses, that was Hanoi, and Aida was itching to get a tan. So we moved south to Hue (promounced Hway), a city of beautiful pagodas, the Perfume River, and lots of war history, it being 100km short of the DMZ.
HUE TOO PISSED TO DO FUCKALL
We arrived in Hue after a smooth, overnight, Diazzified (i.e. Diazepam/Valium which we’ve discovered to be great for bus rides; actually, they’re great for anything) bus ride with wickedly reclining seats, on the morning of my 29th birthday. And after freshening up, we decided it would be ridiculous not to start drinking immediately. So we racked up a Bloody Mary at 1pm, and after a raucous game of Kings, Queens and Guillotines (a superb drinking card game, but that’s another story, thank your lucky minges), we got turfed out of the hotel bar/restaurant for making too much noise, and hit the DMZ. No, not the real DMZ, but a bar called DMZ (there’s a sick sense of humour in the Nam, where bars are called DMZ, clubs are called Apocalypse Now, and pictures and lighters of the Twim (Twim? Quim, ya fuckah) Towers abound everywhere). And we get fucking shitfaced. Yet-a-fucking-gain. At one point I walk out of the DMZ for some reason I cannae remember, and there’s a guy on a cyclo outside, saying “You wan cyclo?”, and me saying “No”, and him saying “You wan marijuana?”, and me saying, “Okay”. And after seeing a policeman somewhere nearby, he shoves me into his cyclo, and we perform the transaction while he cycles with me in the seating bit. Later on, having smoked it and realised that it was something akin to tea, me and Matt went outside and started shouting at this guy, culminating in me throwing at the floor in front of him saying “You sold us shit! This is tea!” And then walking back in to the bar. Matt goes “Dude, are you sure that was the guy, cos he seemed to really not know what we were talking about…” And of course it wasnae the same guy. Anyway, after convincing everyone to move down to a little noodle stall that would serve us beer in a torrential downpour, I got my only birthday present of the day. And her name was Miss Piggy. For obvious reasons. The fat bint. But let’s not go there.
The next day we hired scooters and hit the Forbidden City, or Purple City as it is known. And chilled there for a while, it was nowt THAT special, but was cool to walkk around in when hungover. Then we got back on the bikes and cruised around to the outskirts of the city where we came upon what I have called the Friendliest Street in the World. Some guy came out of his shop and dragged everyone into his little petrol-selling shop/house, asking us to drink with him. I walked down the street and back, and in that 100m stretch up the road, EVERYONE I walked by said hello, waved, asked me what my name was, stopped on their scooters to greet me, just absolutely ridiculously outrageously friendly. And then I went back to the shop and saw an ever-increasing group of people drink with us, including some geezer who was trying to put lit fags in his 1 year-old baby’s mouth. Awesome day. And then we got pissed again. Resulting in my missing the real DMZ trip that we’d booked for the next day. Which was a shame cos it was meant to have been quality, with a tour guide who’d been massively affected by the war and who had grown up in the area taking everyone round. But that’s all I can say about that, to be honest. So I slept, went for a jog, then we went out and got pissed (yawn) again. Resulting in all five of us missing the Perfume River Pagoda boat trip that we’d booked for the next day. But, fuck it, we had fun, and that afternoon we got a short (4 hour) bus ride to Hoi An, which was supposed to be a beautiful town of amazing architecture, tailor shops galore, and a beeayatch to die for.
HOI! THIS PLACE ROCKS
We stayed 10 fucking days in total in this place. It was another case of the ole Yangshuo Syndrome. Hoi An is a haze of many things which I only vaguely remember, in some order or other:
1- Architecture. Hoi An is an old, chilled out town, with a beautifully-impressive array of Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and French buildings all intermingled within this little fishing village.
2- Clothes. Hoi An is reknowned for its tailors. There are something absolutely ridiculous like over 200 different tailors who will take your measurements, show you a Next catalogue (or you can draw/explain it, if Next isnae your cup of tea, ya posh bastid), and kit you out in an entire wardrobe for next to nothing. I planned to get some clothes done, and Dave was getting some stuff done in the market, which was about 15/20 different tailors all under one roof. So we went down, and before we walked in, we bumped into this Israeli guy we’d met before, and he goes “Don’t get your clothes done in that place”, and it turns out he’d gone down and got measured up for a pair of trousers, come back that evening, squatted down straight after he put them on, and the seam around his crotch totally split open. So he takes them off and tells the tailorwoman to do it properly, with double-stitching and all that kind of minge, and she agrees and tells him to come back a couple of hours. When he gets back, he puts them on again, squats down, and surprise of Sir Fucking Prizes, they rip again. Anyway, we decided to check it out, but it turned out to be expensive anyway, and in this other shop I managed to get done a cool pair of black linen shorts, a pair of navy blue stretchy-cotton trackie bottoms, a pair of dark green linen troosers, a pair of combats without the pockets in a nice charcoal grey, two normal shirts, one black silk shirt, and a whole fucking silk suit, all for the astronmically huge price of 88 dallah. Which is just ridiculous, innit?
On a separate clothes-related front, we met these two Dutchies, a guy called Kip and a lassie called Jorinde (as in “You’re in da chair”). This one day I was sitting at breakfast with them, and they were about to go to check out the clothes Kip had ordered. Right, explanation is due here. Kip basically had some clothes done up, and Jorinde being an exporter of clothes and various other items for her clothes label in Holland (which incidentally sells shit down Urban Outfitters and Kitsch En Synch, for all you Laaaaandon ponces) and therefore knowing about tailoring and so on, she agrees to go with him to check out the quality. And it’s down the same market. And basically he’s been fleeced. He’s paid WAY over the odds for a load of bad-quality minge. And Jorinde’s a little hot-tempered and starts turning the clothes inside-out, showing the woman the seaming, and this, and that, for every piece of clothing. I mean, she’s within her rights, the stuff was awful quality. the worst item was a bathrobe he got done, which was supposed to be in wool, but was fleece, and which the seaming was all irregular, and where there was an actual parting down at the bottom when he wore it, which just made him look like the biggest fanny. Anyway, so they tell the tailor to sort it out, and they were supposed to go back again after the breakfast we were having. So they invited me along to have a laugh. On the way we bump into a nutter of Kiwi called Will who we know, and I convince him to come and join in the giggle. Fucking hell. We walked in to the market, and Jorinde goes straight at it, turning shit inside out, speaking loudly, but the tailors are basically not liking her style. So after hagreeing that we go back that afternoon, and after Jorinde shouting at the lady “Do you want me to tell those customers there not to by from you??!??” and this diminutive little Vietnamese woman shouting (yes, shouting, something they NEVER fucking do here) “You never EVER do that!”, we leave. And it’s decide that maybe Jorinde should not return with us that afternoon as it may be bad for her own business. Me and Kip go back that afternoon, and get taken round the back away from the customers, but sort everything out peacefully, apart from the fact that this tailor is going “Your girlfriend is very rude! I have been a tailor blahblahblahblahblah”. Later on, I speak to Jorinde, and she had been in the market buying her own material for her business, and apparently the tailor had called her over and said “Can I say one thing to you?” Jorinde says “Okay”, and gets taken outside the market, where the woman basically says to her “If you ever come back to this market, I kill you”, while miming a slit across the throat. Needless to say, Jorinde left the next day.
3- Beach. A beautiful beach. Fizzbee. Footie. Quality tunes on the walkman. Fucking hot. Seafood served to us at our sun loungers. Nuff said.
4- Hotel room parties. Hoi An closes its bars at 12 midnight. Yes, 12 midnight. So how did we manage to get pissed with such regularity, I hear you all ask. Well, hotel room parties is the answer. We leave the bar (beautiful bars in stunning, high-ceilinged, fanned, French-colonial style places), pick up some alcohol, back to my room with whoever in the bar is up for it. Bob’s your fanny. There are toooooo many nights here to cover, but Aida’s last night will go daaaan in history (at least I THINK it was the shitster’s last night….). Yankyboy, Davey, Braziliana, Hairy Shitster, Mad Scottish Bint, and myself all in my room, playing Kings, Queens and Guillotines. Part of this game involves making rules that everyone must follow. Real-life example: Every time a 9 is picked up by anyone, Aida has to take a large swig of her drink, get on the floor, and do 10 press-ups. Aida. Pressups. Nuff said. Aside from embarassing her even more by saying she then ended up throwing up off my balcony while Matt held her hair (aaaaaaawwwwwwww, bless). Aida. Throwing Up. Nuff said. Anyway, I’m up drinking and talking (yes, just talking, ya dorty bar stewards; not that I hadn’t tried it on and been rebuffed the previous night, like) with Scottish bint when I get a phone call at 7.30am telling me that there’s been a mistake and Aida’s ticket is wrong, and she has to leave NOW and now at 4pm. So she gets up, livid, and has to make a move. Meantime, I come running round the corner, slip on the wet floor they’ve just cleaned, and go legs-akimbo straight into the pole holding the stair bannister up. The most pain I have ever had in my balls. Ever. In my life. Hurt for three solid days. But at least the hairy one left easy nuff on her plane to Hanoi.
5- Frogs. A highlight of Hoi An was renting scooters out to go down to see some old temple ruins which the Rough Guide warns people not to stray to far away from as it’s landmine territory, and as the Lonely Planet conveniently adds, “One landmine can ruin your entire day”. Anyway, we drive down for about an hour through some rice paddies and allsorts to this place. And it’s closed. Cos we’re pissed-up mincers. But after eating some chicken noodles (which turned out to be instant noodles in stock with no chicken), we drove back, at night, with torrential rain pouring down, us wearing these plastic-bag style raincoats that exploded with air as you drove along, and with frogs jumping across the road in the light of our headlights. An image I will never ever forget, I tell ya.
6- Hotel. Our hotel had a beautiful swimming pool. Nuff said.
7- Pisses. As was to be expected, Aida had some interesting pissing sessions. One of these, sitting in a little moodle (moodle shmoodle; NOODLE) shop which allowed us to drink beer at 3am, was a bucket. With nothing around it. So Aida pisses, and then this guy comes running out, has a go at her, and makes her clean the floor with the entire contents of the bucket. Aida. Pissing problems. For those who know her, nuff said.
8- Food. I’ve already minced on abaaat Vietnamese food, but Hue and Hoi An are reknowned for their quality food. And it was quality. And that’s it, believe it or not. I have nowt more to say on that front.
9- Max. This Russian geezer brought some weed over from Laos. Nice bongs on street corners at 3am. Nuff farking said.
10- Sun loungers. Matt slept on a sun lounger one night after the shitster left. I’ll leave the story up to your imaginations.
And one day, after far too many days chilling in heaven, I woke up and turned around to Matt, and not for the first time said, “Geezah. We’re booking out of this place the morrow otherwise we ain’t ever leaving this place.” And after the worst bus ride of my life, where even a double dose of Vallies couldnae save us from the bumpiness and lack of any reclinage what-so-hever on the seats, I now sit in Nha Trang. Beach resort. Party town of Vietnam. Bars open later than anywhere helse in the country. Will this ever end?