On my final day here in HCMC, I was awoke from the sound of Vietnam’s national sport of honking their damn horns on the road.
I had an early night yesterday by going to bed around 1am but as I just mentioned, I was awake by 6am. Problem for me in hostels is that once I wake up I find it extremely difficult to go back to sleep. So I laid down til about 930 before making my way down to have their complimentary omelette and bread with coffee. This is where I met my man Luke from London, the one with the best story I’ve heard. I approached him to ask if he was really hot, as he was wearing a sweater. He is probably the only person in this city who was wearing a big black sweater so I just needed to ask. His response is what you’ve all been shared with now, and the rest is history. A funny moment occurred later on that evening – I was sitting in the hostel lobby going through Instagram when I received a comment from Luke saying thanks for the blog post. I wrote a quick reply. When I looked up to see where Nick, Muz, and Jamie were I realized that the guy sitting next to me is none other than Luke! So much funnies.
Meet Michelle. This gorgeous Australian-Vietnamese, business professional from Perth, Australia has been travelling South America over the last two months before making her way home to be with her family celebrating the Tet holiday. Don’t let that pretty face fool you – this woman is relentless in making sure that you know you’re really bad in speaking Vietnamese, aka me. Favourite story – “(in South America somewhere I can’t remember what she told me) I once ate tarantula, termites in the rainforest, and like frog legs. Oh, when we were eating tarantula’s I took the leg and my friend took the body. But when she bit into the body it happened that the tarantula was pregnant! So puss and like the eggs started coming out…”
Meet Hoang Gia Bao, my Vietnamese doppelgänger and future heart breaker of the Vietnamese girls. As I was walked through the park how can Sheldon and I NOT ask for a pic. Loaded with humour, when I asked him in Vietnamese how old he is, he responded enthusiastically “SAU TUOI (6 years old)…” followed by some vietnamese I couldn’t understand. It must’ve been hilarious though because his parents both laughed hysterically.
This afternoon I hung around with Michelle as we went to check out the Saigon Opera Hall – where Sheldon and I posed for our cover album of the next hottest rap album – and then to Post Office site. Making various stops trying out all sorts of street food.
Michelle is fluent in Vietnamese, so I was able to use her as a translator for things such as meeting my boy Hoang Gia and playing the card game Big 2 with locals, which is played very frequently on the streets by the locals. I was told it’s normally unlucky to play this game without it being gambling, but Michelle said something about me just being a tourist wanting to do local things. Either way, it worked and what an awesome experience! For the record, I finished second so I would have received 5000 VND from third place finisher and the 4th place pays winner 10,000 VND (~$0.50 USD).
Upon returning back to hostel, we met up with Nik for some beers. The evening tonight has been pretty quiet. I’ve came back to my dorm around 11pm and have been laying here since, chatting with other travellers staying in tonight. I have an early train tomorrow morning to Mui Ne which leaves in about 5 hours (at the time of this writing).
Meet Melanie – this lady from Paris, France is more than just a halfer with a cute smile. Half Filipino and half European, she is currently in her final year of finishing her Physics degree in the best country of the world – McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Asked what her plans are upon graduating, “I’m thinking of doing engineering”. Damn girl, you know all the right things to say.
Saigon has been a complete blast. I’m excited to move on with my trip exploring the rest of Vietnam however I’m sad to be leaving the travellers I’ve gotten close to over the past 5 nights. Nik, Muz, Michelle, and Jamie. I know you guys will be reading this so know that the highlights of my experience here is greatly attributed to the 4 of you. It was an awesome 4-5 nights with memories I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Best of luck with the rest of your travels.
To the guys mentioned above and the countless others I’ve met in Saigon, thanks so much for all the stories and laughs. The numerous responses I’ve received about my blog has gone above and beyond what I had ever intended it to be. It would not have been possible without you.
And thanks to the awesome hospitality from The Hideout Hostel in Saigon. The girls at front desk knew my name and greeted me every day. Highly recommend this hostel for future backpackers. Cheap beer at their bar next door with two free beers from 7-8pm for guests.