He’s still looking at me, then what comes out of his mouth is something I’ve never heard from anyone in Vietnam, young or old. It catches me off guard and I have no idea how to respond.
The Hai Van Pass
A beautiful beach, outside the city, wooden boats bob about while local families splash in the water. I’m still thrilled about coming over the Hai Van Pass, touted as the best coastal views in Vietnam and featured on “Top-Gear” (Though I’ve never seen the show).
Cows graze in a freshly harvested rice field, backed by lush forested mountains and a temple, under a setting sun. The outskirts of Da Nang, Vietnam’s third largest city.
The kid looks about 9 years old. He studies me curiously. Maybe he wants to say hi. Lots of kids are curious about me and usually greet me with a big smile and “hello”. He’s still looking at me, then what comes out of his mouth is something I’ve never heard from anyone in Vietnam, young or old. It catches me off guard and I have no idea how to respond. “F@ck you… mother f@cker,” he says to me, somewhat quietly and with hesitation, followed by an uncertain smirk. He probably has an idea of what he said and wanted to get some kind of reaction, a bold move. I just look at him dumbfounded, I want to say something but I can’t figure out what to say. Instead, I just get onto my motorcycle and drive off in the setting sun, confused with this cheeky welcome to Da Nang.
Back in a big city. I quickly adjust to the traffic patterns. There is order in the chaos, and it is chaos. The light turns green and I need to turn left. Left turn arrow? Not a chance. You see in Vietnam, one revs the engine to rush quickly in front of the oncoming traffic for your left turn, as soon as the light turns green. Getting out into the intersection a few seconds before the light turn turns green is acceptable, even encouraged.
I arrive at my hostel and to my surprise, I see a box of “Free Earplugs”. It’s not a small box. I open it revealing a Costco sized supply of earplugs. That’s odd, why give out free earpl….then I hear it. The whole hostel seems to rumble as the plane flies low overhead. It’s going to be a long night.
Welcome to Da Nang!
The next day sitting on the beach another kid approaches me. “Hello. I’m Tony what’s your name?” Tony wants to practice his English with this foreigner sitting on China beach. Tony is nice and polite. Be like Tony.
The Weed, The Irish Dude & Tinder
I almost forgot to tell you about the Irish guy looking for weed on Tinder. Do you remember the last story about weed and the 20,000 — 500,000 VND scam? Well, some shady guy in Hue tried the same thing. “He kept asking me if I wanted weed so I said fook it, sure.” “I followed him to underneath the old bridge.” Two more guys then joined the first guy and the situation goes downhill. One dude pulls out the bag of weed. It’s 500k (about $22). “I give him the 500 thousand bill and he says I only gave him 20 thousand. I said fook off I gave you 500.” The guy then tells him he was “just joking” and then starts to take some weed out of the bag. He’s trying to give the Irish guy less than the agreed on amount, another attempt to cheat him. Now he starts getting more irritated. “These guys are all smaller than me. So I say fook you, grab the bag of weed and take off on my motorcycle.”
Da Nang is a half days motorbike ride from Hue. Upon arriving in Da Nang he hits up some girls on Tinder looking for weed. No dice. Maybe he’ll have better luck in Hoi An.