My first day in Vietnam (Part 3)

Date Written: 05.01.2013 Place: Sydney, Australia Time: 11:28

Read Part 1 here

Read Part 2 here

I was hurrying to finish my beer whilst everyone was moving onwards, out of the hostel and towards beer hoi.  As I stepped out behind them the two German guys (and 1 Austrian) were calling me from reception.  “We changed our minds!  We want free beer!”  They were a few hours late for the free beer and our hostel’s bar was now closing, but then, as I was explaining this to them, Sara, the really drunk friend of Fabia from earlier, stepped out of nowhere and spurted out; “if you want beer you need to go to beer hoi or this club I went to the other day and got so wasted I don’t actually remember how to get there or back and…”

She was so drunk.  I was drunk, but she was so much drunker.  She was so drunk she was the kind of drunk person you look at and think oh god I hope I don’t look like that when I’m drunk.

The German guys looked at her confused, whether because they didn’t know who she was and where she just come from, or because she was just so drunk.  German guy: “Wait, slow down, yes we want beer.”  Sara repeated the above, German guys “We want beer, not bear.”  Sara, “I didn’t say bear, I said bear.”  German guy, “Beer.  We want beer yes?”  Sara, “I didn’t say bear!”  I think she actually just accidentally spat on him by speaking.  Me, “there’s a cafe next door that sells beer, let’s go there and sit down.”  We all agreed to go there, besides we had already lost the others who must be at the beer hoi bar by now.

In the cafe Sara had found Fabia, eating a noodle dish.  She had disappeared at some point during our messy Kings cup game and told Sara this was because she had thrown up, being so drunk, and didn’t want to go to bed on an empty stomach.  Next thing I see is Sara, knocking on the cafe’s kitchen door and speaking, in the awful drunk loud way she was doing moments before, to the poor Vietnamese waitress, who probably would have come over to take her order anyway.  “Can I have what she’s having?  That girl over THERE.  Yes, her.  THE SAME DISH.  I want the same as her.  For me.  Please.”  Oh god, she’s literally in the kitchen shouting this at her.  She is such an embarrassment to my fellow English kind.  Of course the waitress could hear her fine and she could probably understand her too, why, oh why, is she shouting at her like that.

The Germans and I had got beer by then and when Sara got her noodle dish I think she asked for a knife and fork.  “A knife and fork!  There’s chopsticks right there!”  Exclaimed one of the German guys, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one thinking she was an idiot.  “I don’t know how to use them!!!” Wailed Sara.  “What?  But that’s ridiculous.  You’re in Asia, you must eat with chopsticks.”  Calmly said the Austrian from the group.  Before long this Austrian guy was giving Sara a lesson in chopsticks etiquette by pinching the noodles from her plate, with his arm spread over her and feeding them into her mouth, whilst she was laughing and trying not to spill/spit out the noodles back onto her plate or all over her.  If I was her, I’d be so embarrassed the next morning.

The cafe began to close for the night and customers were beginning to get shuffled out.  Quick thinking, we ordered some more beer and was allowed to sit in our hostels bar, whilst it was closed, so we could drink the beers there. Sara hadn’t joined us, in fact I didn’t know where she went, perhaps she was vomiting and passing out on a war monument somewhere.

Fabia was back with us though and as our conversation moved from community service, being a punishment sentence in Britain, opposed to the compulsory care for old people service German and Austrian youths have to do for a year, Fabia was disagreeing with everything I said.  The Germans were naturally inquisitive about what laws we had in England, or what kind of culture we had for caring for the old and anything I explained was becoming a catalyst of argument for Fabia, another bad drunk.  For example; me: “Careworkers can get good pay in England.”  Fabia “No they can’t, they get shit pay, they don’t even get minimum wage” and so it went on with any point I had to add to the conversation.

“Maybe we should change the subject.” I said, in the end, exasperated with Fabia, the most annoying person I’ve met whilst traveling.  At which point Sara came bursting through into the bar, “there you are you BITCH!  I was looking for YOU!” She stammered pointing at Fabia, Fabia burst out laughing, then SPLASH – Sara’s foot went straight in the pond which was at the end of the bar “WHO PUTS A FUCKING RIVER HERE?!” to which we all burst out laughing at her stupid drunken behavior.  More laughing at her, than with her, mind you.

Anyway, Sara and Fabia finally buggered off to bed when I was left with the German guys having a conversation then another shock – a squeaking noise underneath my legs  – a rat, yes a rat, just ran underneath my feet!  I screamed and threw my legs  up on the bench, the German guy sitting next to me jumped, “why did you scream!?” Me:  “there was a rat!  It ran underneath me and must have ran underneath you too!” German guy: “What!!?”  He put up his feet too, then there was a noise across from behind the bar, “oh yes, that’s the rat!” said the bartender casually, as if the hostel’s cat or dog just ran through the bar, except it was a rat.  A rat!!

It’s remarkable what you see and put up with when you’ve had a few beers though, after the rat incident and before we all went to bed, we all began laughing and agreeing that this is probably a common occurrence in Asia and worse, certainly, is yet to come.

The next day Jill had already left the hostel to meet her on/off boyfriend by the time I woke up, I didn’t see Simon, Charlie or Sara again and I only had a brief moment with Aiden in reception before he diasppeared too.  As for Fabia, I had my own friend arriving in Vietnam the next day and although she apologised to me in the morning our friendship ended there, and so did our little temporary group, in Hanoi.


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