m.n.f.

The environment just might be worth saving..just sayin’.

JDR

the cataclysmic storm approaches Florida’s shores,
swift as the cottonmouth scurrying through the Everglades,
with lightning striking down upon us heathens;
thunderous roars mask the screams of death
as mother nature invokes martial law,
punishing us for despicable treasonous acts
warranting death by earth’s firing squad.

shiiiiiiit, i ain’t scared; i’ll still frack the shit out of you;
i’m a mother nature fucker.

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Amey’s world travels has cool stories to tell.

I probably had one of the best weeks in Penang, made SO many friends, spent like every waking (and sleeping in fact) moment with Erica, worked in a bar (something I have wanted to do for ages), ate relatively healthy, exercised everyday, explored lots of Penang on scooters and ate some simply amazing food. Ben […]

via Thursday 8th June (part 2) — Amey’s World Travels

Phu Quoc blog: part 1

(JDR) One of the late nights drinking booze in the hotel lobby with the crew, it was decided that I’d be joining a group for a trip to Phu Quoc island.  This was a post-TESOL-course celebration.  I had planned on looking for a job straight away, but the allure of the island pictures and the thought of a few days away from the busyness of the city, convinced me to join (the half-dozen beers probably helped as well).  The group decided to stay at a hostel, but fuck if I was going to be staying at hostel (never have, never will).  I booked a bungalow on the beach, a room with two beds, and large enough to easily accommodate three to four people.  I need my living space (and space from people).  

 

The night before our trip, it was someone’s brilliant idea to go out and try to pull an “all-nighter.”  I don’t have any recollection of the evening.  The next morning, I do recall the attendant for the airline telling me I smelled like “drunk”, and despite my efforts to convince her otherwise, I think she may have been right.  Our flight was early, like EARLY (6:30 a.m. or something like that) and I was knackered, shattered, and all sorts of ready to give up on life.  My body doesn’t always agree with my child-like brain.

 

The flight to Phu Quoc island from Ho Chi Minh City is only 45 minutes, which meant we arrived before check-in time to our respective short-term residences.  As I mentioned, I was staying at a bungalow.  Once I arrived, they owners were kind enough to let me store my luggage and change into my beach gear so that I could go chill on the beach (their ‘private’ beach).  I immediately went to their restaurant and sat at a table with a view of the ocean.  It was extremely peaceful and quiet, but I did notice that this was a place that may have been for couples.  Nevertheless, I welcomed the serenity.

The “others” as I’ll call them (a total of seven, I believe) were unable to check-in at their hostel.  I eventually walked down to the beach closer to where they were staying (about a ten minute walk).  It became apparent as I walked closer to their area of the beach, that it started to resemble a beach on the Jersey Shore (not people, but rubbish).  After an hour or so, we made a decision to head back to my bungalow and the ‘private beach’.  It’s at this point that the choices made on this trip would begin a nosedive beneath the depths of hell (I even gave a what’s up headnod to Satan on the way down).

Drunk Dan and Innocent Dan found a place to buy beer in bulk.  The chairs reserved for the guests of the bungalow were soon confiscated by the ‘others’.  (The group was unaware that I’d be charged for them using the chairs.)   By 11:00 a.m., the group had overtaken the private beach and the restaurant.  We were wasted, but some more than others.  The group was loud, obnoxious, drunk, and unaware that it was not even noon.  We were met with glances that I could only decipher as “What The Fuck!?”  

Eventually, my room was ready for me to pass out for a much needed rest.  The others left to go check-in to their hostel (the thought of sharing a big room with people you don’t know just disgusts me, but to each their own).  Several hours later, we reconvened for dinner at a western style restaurant with fruity drinks and pizza.  

(HS) When you finish a vaguely stressful TESOL course in Ho Chi Minh city, what are you to do? Go on the lash, of course. And the only thing better than lashing in Ho Chi Minh City is lashing on Phu Quoc island, a paradisicial island a mere hour long flight away from our newfound hometown. What started out as a girls’ trip for three to get away from the boys (seriously, we all laugh at dick jokes, but would it kill ya to vary it a little?!) turned into a party of nine- definitely for the better, as it turned out.

The night before our 6am flight, almost all of us went out, and many of the group hadn’t even been to bed by the time we boarded. Although I had been in lame, I-should-go-back-and-pack party, I was still knackered, so god knows how the others felt. However, heroically, everyone powered through.

Going through airport security was something of a novelty for me; compared to the super-strict UK, I was surprised to discover that in Vietnam, it’s fine to walk through airport security with pretty much anything except a knife in your hand luggage (from whiskey to leftover Indian food to a cigarette tucked behind your ear, carpenter-style, it’s all good). Taking advantage of this, my friend and I shared some of his aforementioned whiskey on the flight (he stole my window seat, so he owed me) and nobody batted an eyelid.

Once we arrived on the island, we checked into our hostel (and Jonathan into his fancy beach bungalow, a safe distance away from us plebs) and hit the beach at around 8am, where the first order of business was, surprise surprise, beer. We swam a little and wandered around for a while until we found Jonathan’s stretch of beach to ruin. Within an hour, I was both drunk and sunburnt; a true Brit abroad. We passed much of the morning pissing off the bungalow owners with our rowdiness. Belly-buttons were licked (never doing that again), truths were revealed and it was made clear that we were not particularly welcome to return to that stretch of beach any time soon.

A particular delight that morning was the experience of getting to know Dan (mentioned in BJ’s previous posts) a little better. It was the third time he’d been drunk, but to be honest it seemed more like he was high: “I don’t understand words anymore. What do words even mean?” he slurred, in wide-eyed hazy worriment. “Why are those ants on the floor so big?” (To be fair, they were pretty sizeable. But still.)

By lunchtime, we agreed we’d pissed off the owners of Jonathan’s place enough and that it was probably best if we all got a few hours’ rest before the night to come. We headed back to our accommodation to shower, nap and await the arrival of Amey, a friend of one of the group who was supposed to join us on our flight but had gotten too carried away the night before to do so- I liked her already.  

(JDR)  After dinner, I suggested we should go to this hookah bar (they call it shisha) that I saw on my way to the restaurant.  We were all feeling better from the nap and the re-hydration of booze.  It was agreed upon that hookah would be the stop.  First thing I notice is a bottle of absinthe (um, yes please!).  I bought a shot.  But then wondered, “Can I just buy the bottle like I would in the States?” And YES, yes I could.  Boom!  A bottle of absinthe, two big boy hookahs and we were off to the races.  I was soon enough pouring shots for patrons as they entered the lounge.  We were given access to the music selection (always a big deal for me).  The night was turning blissful. I was dancing.  We were loud, but in a place where it’s okay to be loud, and making friends with fellow travelers.  Unfortunately, the night was coming to an end (we shut the bar down).

 

Upon leaving the bar, the rain was coming down at a steady pace (not a downpour, but enough to where you’d be comfortably wet after a few minutes, and when I say comfortably, I mean my nipples are visible through my drenched shirt).  I began the journey to my bungalow, which was only a mere five minutes away.  However, in the midst of darkness, with the rain and absinthe drunkenness, I ended up on the beach, but not close to my bungalow.  The next 30 – 45 minutes of my life would be in the hands of some Greek God (or Goddess).  

 

I recall trudging through the wet sand in a new pair of shoes (purchased at Nordstroms before my trip) with heavy steps, ankle deep in sand puddles.  Somewhere along the way, I lost my shirt.  I found myself wading in the shallow parts of the beach.  Soon thereafter, my leg was bloody from an apparent fall, but I was laying on the edge of the beach as the waves crashed upon me, in a futile attempt to wash away my infinite sins.  I was in an absinthe daze, floundering around like a fish out of water, looking like I was snared by a fishing hook, gasping for a breath of soberness and familiarity.  Finally, I somehow made it back to my bungalow, shirtless, numb, dumb, and incomprehensible, even to myself.

Yes, this was just the first day.  Not all of this trip can be summarized in one blog, and thus another will be dedicated to this trip (foreshadowing: a monkey runs across the road, Jonathan on a motorbike, lunch on a floating restaurant, lunch with the most adorable couple in the world, and a laughing gas balloon). Stay tuned.  

 

Thank you to Hannah Stephenson for her contribution to this blog.  Please go read her blog @ How Far I’ll Pho for some wonderful writings.  Despite her resting “huh” face, she can be quite smart at times (and a literature major, so the writing isn’t half-bad either).  

First night out … and Dan

(BT)

As we were adjusting to Vietnam, we were fortunate enough to have a weekday off, as it was a public holiday. So a bunch of us decided to go to this place called Bui Vien in the centre of the city. From what we had heard, this was the place to be for the crazy partying. So we hopped into a taxi, where one girl chatted on and on, and the guy next to me was feeling exceptionally randy, as he continually tried to make out with a different girl, but to no avail.

 

The first time visiting Bui Vien was quite something. Many (club workers) tried to persuade us to go into their clubs, the smell of cooking wafting all over the street, karaoke singing outside restaurants, cars and bikes driving through the packed crowds, and tons of very drunk, happy people. When visiting, this is a great place, as the chaotic environment is quite thrilling. However, it can get repetitive very quickly, as most nights that I’ve spent there ended at 4 or 5 in the morning.

 

Our group ended up visiting different clubs, partook in very questionable dancing, and progressively we got more and more intoxicated. By the time we were ready to leave, we came across another member of our TESOL course. This guy is called Dan. Judging from the first few days, Dan was rather quiet, but you could tell that he was a very nice chap. Everyone from the course would agree with me on this. He certainly didn’t conjure the image of a party goer, yet here he was in the middle of the chaos that is Bui Vien. Eventually we found out that he had joined Jonathan for a night out. But, Jonathan was nowhere to be found.

 

There were 8 of us ready to head back to Go Vap. B

ecause of this, we had trouble finding a taxi. Yet we came up with a solution, someone was to go in the boot of the car. Dan kindly volunteered for this, even though he’s well over 6 foot, knowing that it was going to be a tight squeeze for him. Sure enough, we all managed to fit in, with Dan in a position resembling what those poor magician’s apprentices look like, crammed into those boxes to make it seem as though they’re being sawn in half.  

 

In the taxi, every now and then a song came on, which we would sing along to, as for the most part, we were all in a jolly mood, and were glad that we’d got to spend the evening together. Eventually, one song that came along on the radio was from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The exact song is lost on me. But what isn’t lost is Dan quietly singing to himself in the boot, whilst we all listened with amusement. Good ole Dan, I’m glad we ran into him that night. We got to know him better, and from there, we were able to steadily help him have more life experiences. Something that we’re still doing for him.

 

We heard a whole lot of rumours about what Jonathan did that night. Many of these rumours, he never flat out denied. But I don’t think that anyone really knows what exactly he did that night. Therefore, I now turn you the reader over to the man-child himself. Take it away Jonno.

 

(JDR)  

There I was, juiced up on codeine and alcohol, draped in thousandaire gear, shoes gleamed up for royalty, ready for a night out in this new city of mine.  A recommendation was made by the teacher (an Australian bloke in his late 50s) of the TESOL course to try out this 7-seventeen bar, where apparently the waitresses were ‘nice’.  Hmm.  I wasn’t sure what that meant, but his intonation was convincing enough for me.  The decision was made.  Next up: who’d join me?

 

A tall (6’3”?) pale scrawny American with an old man’s voice was also in this course and in the same class as me.  He was obviously young (not older than 24).  I assumed he was from the Midwest but turned out he was from Northern Pennsylvania.  His name was Dan.  But his name would change quite often over the next two months.

 

Perhaps now is as good a time as any to attempt to describe the chaos that is the streets of Saigon.  I’m sure you all have seen a flock of birds suddenly change directions with leaders of the flock alternating as often as populist politicians change positions (or how my high priced prostitutes change their positions – same same).  That’s sort of how the traffic works here.  It’s like a beautiful symphony, but only Amadeus knows how it goes … and it’s all in his head, but somehow, the participants in this incredible exercise of “I dare you to go left!” or “I hope he’s going left!” have figured out this complex chaotic disorderly orderly system.  Fuck if I know how to figure it out, which is why I won’t dare to drive in the city.  I’ll be forever summoning Uber-motorbike or Grab-bike (or the cars if and when it’s raining, which is quite often during six months of the year).  Sidebar:  riding on the back of the motorbike with your thighs up against another man (it’s always a man driving the bike) with bumps in the road and adjusting positions along the route is just something I thought about.  Hmm.  I suppose there is something more to that thought (think photoshopping out the motorbike).

 

Back to Dan and that night out.  For those that know me, a ‘night out’ has a certain meaning to it (one that often produces memories for others and one where I have no memory of the night).  We began at this 7-seventeen bar, where there was live music.  I recall the ladies, who were quite attractive, singing and dancing the one and only Queen Bey (“All The Single Ladies” and you know I was dancing).  I was thoroughly impressed.  The waitress made her way to the table where Dan and I proceeded to order drinks.  After our drinks arrived, it was time for me to take a tour of this facility.  It was then I was greeted by a lady wearing a midriff, belly button pierced, shining bright like a diamond.  I couldn’t understand anything she was saying, but a picture was taken nonetheless.  After a few “huhs?” and “what’s that?”, she typed into her translator “is your friend gay?” … at least that’s what I remember it saying.  Dan’s version of the evening differs in that he said she was proposing a price for the evening.  It was funny either way.  Dan covered the entire drink bill (thank you, sir).

 

After a few more rounds (drinks and trips around the bar), we decided to depart.  It’s at this point where the evening becomes very blurry for me.  I vaguely recall going to a club where I think I was negotiating with a few ladies, while we drank (and the ladies kept inquiring about Dan’s sexuality).  I felt the oncoming black-out-ness, so being my experienced self, I said I had to leave.  I think I encountered a number of friendly ‘dealers’ along the way to the pick-up spot because I recall Dan yelling “NO JONATHAN! DON’T DO IT!”.  Those lines still makes me laugh when I think about them.  

 

I woke up the next day with a fire extinguisher next to me in bed.  I have no recollection on how it got there, but besides that red metal potential life saver, I was again, by myself.  I later learned that that was Dan’s second time being drunk and again, for those that know me, your second experience of being inebriated around me is equivalent to skydiving without a parachute.  Kudos to Dan for hanging that night.  (Also, I think the fire extinguisher came from the Uber, but I can’t remember.)

 

Since then, his nickname went from ‘Innocent Dan’ to ‘Transition Dan’ to ‘Prodigy Dan’ as he’s tried many new things hanging out with the likes of yours truly.  As usual, my ability to influence is used for the greater good.  (Oh, yeah, I thought he might have been on Rumspringa, but turns out, he isn’t Amish).  

 

burning bridges

I’ve lost count of the number of

bridges I’ve burnt,

sort of like that number of partners

you’ve been with;

it becomes irrelevant at some point.

I burned them like I was being chased

by some unwanted baby mama(s).

in all fairness, once you’ve crossed

the bridge,

what’s the point of keeping it there?

a connection to what’s behind us

is the only thing holding us back.

so I say,

burn those mutha fucking bridges

down till your eyelashes and eyebrows

are singed off

and your nose is filled with the foul

odor of burned follicle:

it only smells that awful because

that was the nasty shit hanging on

to you, not wanting to let go.

-JDR-

“You choose”

there are people that are

occasional assholes;

there are people that are

drunkard assholes;

some are sarcastic assholes;

some people are inadvertent assholes;

and then there are some people

that are just fucking dickheads to others

for which there is no reasonable excuse

despite what they may have been through.

I’m one of these, but not quite sure

which one.  I suppose it doesn’t matter,

because you’re a fucking idiot anyways.

-JDR-