So two Vietnamese, two Americans, two Danes, a Brit, two Canadians, and a Frenchwoman walk into a bar…
During my time in Vietnam I’ve had the opportunity to meet an interesting variety of wonderful people. Little did I know that in meeting some of them, I was slowly gathering the ingredients for the perfect night out in Ho Chi Minh.
In Ha Long Bay I met two Canadians on their six-month honeymoon through South America and S.E. Asia.
In Mui Ne I met an American girl who was traveling through the area because she had a wedding to go to. (A wedding I nearly crashed…)
In writing this blog for the last few weeks I was introduced to a Vietnamese girl living in Ho Chi Minh.
In Ho Chi Minh itself I met other backpackers and people as a result of the people above, and a small bit of dumb luck. And so last night, my last night in Vietnam, what had initially started out as a simple dinner with the Canadians and the other American girl turned into a fun filled night unlike any other in Vietnam.
Dinner was uneventful – main courses coming out before soups, drinks that came out after nearly all of the food, ect – really all standard for Vietnam. After diner the four of us decided to grab a beer on the main tourist/backpacker drag. Imagine a road for five blocks (at least) where every store is a bar or restaurant that sells cheap food and even cheaper beer. That’s Bui Vien street. Eventually we found somewhere to sit down. The seats are small plastic chairs, and by small I mean about 12 inches above the ground.
As the night goes on, and at this point we’re still on our first beer, the Vietnamese girl recognizes me as she’s walking along the same street with a friend. A little bit later, (maybe two beers in) the French girl staying in the room with the other American comes to meet us. Even later in the evening, two Dutch guys we met the night before (although they don’t remember it) and a British guy joined us. It’s worth mentioning that the three of them were in the most ridiculous outfits I have seen in my time through Vietnam. They were apparently in the market and found what I can only describe as matching shirts and shorts in the style of football uniforms. The only variation was that each was wearing a different color version of the outfit. This would be the full group for the night.
A few hours and many 50-cent beers later, the idea of Karaoke was floated. It needs to be explained that in Vietnam, karaoke is different than in America. A karaoke bar isn’t a bar where you watch other people sing – it’s the kind of place where you and your friends rent a room with a karaoke machine and a projector on the wall. Essentially you’re singing for your friends in a giant soundproof (mostly) room. The beers here are also more expensive – a whole dollar per beer!
We paid $7.50 to rent the room for an hour – that’s a total of $7.50 for the entire group. Clearly this business is profitable based on the beer you consume while singing. As the night went on, and it went on until 3AM, the quality of the singing went from poor to downright embarrassing. It was also a medley of 90s pop, classic 70s songs, and anything else in between. Songs that I specifically remember include “Bye Bye Bye” by NSYNC, “All the Small Things” by Blink 182, “Like a Virgin”, “Genie in a Bottle”, “I Love Rock and Roll”, and many many more.
The way the night came together, the insanity of everything that happened, the stories told, ladyboy prostitutes, constant stream of bikeriders offering male massages, fire breathing children, a blind person we didn’t realize was blind, and everything else I’ve already forgotten – could not possibly be replicated. The way this night went down was the perfect way to send Vietnam out in style.
As you can see from the video I took with my phone – it really was a beautiful disaster.