How I Totally Destroyed Myself in Vietnam

by Colin Heinrich May 15, 2015

I drank a bar.

Beer in Vietnam can cost as little as 15 cents. Put that deal in front of a group of determined young men who have accepted the Dad Bod way of life, and you have the ability to literally finish every last drop the bar has in stock.

I drank the day before going to lunch with a friend.

There’s always an off chance that “casual lunch” he invited you to is actually the anniversary of his grandmother’s death, and you’re suddenly meeting every one of his aunts and uncles. They’re all wearing suits, you look like shit, and next thing you know, you’re trying to suck down a dish of boiled pig’s brains without vomiting all over the table.

I ate boiled pig’s brains.

Just don’t do it. It’s not cultural. Gordon Ramsay couldn’t even describe those things in a way that sounds appetizing.

I got the bottom bunk on the local sleeper bus.

This one really wasn’t so bad. I felt like I really connected with the 70 year old woman who fell asleep in the aisle, holding my hand with her feet in my face. Wherever you are… I miss you.

I suggested a bar to random backpackers.

Some bars in rural Vietnam hire locals to taxi tourists over for free as a means to get people in the door. These locals are occasionally meth-addicts with brain damage due to a motorcycle accident. And if they think you’re stealing business from their employers, they may just try to smash a bottle over your head.

I ate snake heart.

It was an amazing cultural experience, featuring a humane snake death, and one that offered me a better understanding of both Vietnam and the people who lived there, while holding health benefits as well…. I lied to myself while sobbing in the bathroom later that night.

I thought I could outrun the rainstorm on my moped.

Lesson learned. A moped cannot, in fact, beat a tropical storm in a 50-kilometer race from Son Trach back to Dong Hoi. And if you try, you’ll lose your sandals when you skid out.

I just went ahead and stayed indoors.

And that was rude of me, so the rain decided to follow me indoors by OPENING MY WINDOW AND BLOWING INSIDE. HOW?

I went tubing in Ha Long Bay.

I despise jellyfish anywhere. I despise looking at them fly underneath me as I skim over the water. But I especially despise flying into them at high speeds, coming up wearing them like a beanie, tentacles hanging down my face and neck like some kind of nautical Rastafarian.

I ate jellyfish.

I thought it would help me get over my phobia. As it turns out, fried jellyfish tastes half as good as snot with twice the texture, and I’m just as paranoid of jellyfish as ever. Thanks a lot, Vietnam.

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