January 09 2012 02:36AM
They say if you are going to go experience a new culture you should avoid getting used to it by degree and jump in with both feet instead. Well actually they say you should do the exact opposite.
But who are they exactly right? Oh they are actual "travel experts?"
@thesquireyeg and your ol’ pal Wanye set off on our voyage what seems already like ages ago flying through Vancouver to Hong Kong, then to Bangkok then into Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. We came to meet the Vietnamese Family of Sonny Pham – founder of Oodle Noodle and probably one of the greatest people one would ever have the fortune to meet.
He was in town for the holidays with his family from Edmonton and when he heard we were going to be in the neighbourhood he insisted that we come visit.
“If you are in Vietnam when I am there and you don’t come visit I am going to cancel all of my advertising and you will be banned from Oodle Noodle for all time” he warned us back in the fall.
“I will show you the real Vietnam, not the one that all the tourists see.”
YOU AIN’T SEEN TRAFFIC
Sometimes we will get stuck on the high level bridge or be near South Edmonton Common and think “man is this traffic crazy.” Never again will we think this.
In Ho Chi Minh City there are about 3 traffic lights for the over 12 million inhabitants. Fortunately they have about 50 million scooters and no one – NO ONE – has any regard for lanes, sidewalks or the direction of traffic.
Our rides around town were a hilarity as drivers cruised through traffic with what has to be the steeliest set of nerves on Earth. Want to pull a U-turn in the middle of the street? No problem. Turning left across 6 lanes of wall to wall scooters? Handled.
And yet the entire time we didn't see a single accident, which goes to show you that anarchy is an effective way of governing traffic and that the North American traffic light is a needless extravagance that can be nixed at any time should we need to save money.
How anyone finds anything in this bustling City seems to be a combination of luck, incredible knowledge and directions like “hang a left at the skinny building with all the wires coming off it.” In fact we were warned to make sure that we had the address of anywhere we wanted to go as opposed to just the name as people will start up restaurants or hotels near other businesses of the same name and insist that they are the real Lotus Hotel.
Many a traveller has fallen prey to this type of trickery.
TP – NO. WEIRD ASS SHOWER – YES.
Like any good Canadian boy with little concept of the outside world we take all sorts of small things for granted.
We had heard that the toilet scenarios here were all kinds of strange so we made sure that we booked ourselves into a hotel that would have the plushest creature comforts we could expect on a backpacking budget. And by and large it has not disappointed with the exception of one thing – a complete lack of toilet paper.
At first we visited several homes of Sonny’s friends and family and noticed that all of the bathrooms had little showers in them. “That’s cool” we naively thought, “they have a shower in the bathroom to save space. And the shower head is so close to the ground – Vietnamese people must run some sort of standing shower game.”
It was only when we got to our hotel and surveyed the scenario in the picture above that we put two and two together. “Uh, I think that these little hand showers are supposed to be the toilet paper” we yelled out in alarm to @thesquireyeg. “Toilet paper doesn’t seem to be in the cards.”
If this trend continues your ol pal Wanye will have the distinction of being the first human in recorded history to “hold it” for 73 consecutive days.
Get well soon Jordan Eberle.