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?"

Screw em.

@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.”


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.



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.

Believe that.

Get well soon Jordan Eberle.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Wanye wrote:

    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.

    Believe that.

    You mean, you will be the FIST to hold it that long!

    That’s better.

    Good for you Wanye, have fun.

      • Chris.

        Tp is actually the more backward solution. If you were picking up dog poo and your glove broke, and you had a brown streak on your hand, would you think dispersing that streak with a tissue adequate?

        *moves up one spot in the plumbing department lineup at Home Depot*

      • BigE91

        Sorry, we will not be sending TP, in it’s place you can expect a boatload of Oilers Magazines which you can use in its place. We have no use for them here and since this season is in the crapper it is more than appropriate.


    • I was informed about the no paper before i went.
      Packed a dozen rolls in my lugage. Wash rooms in the country side is down the hill in back of the resturant, with a hole in the ground and barrel of water to wash your hands, after you clean your rear end. toilet paper was more important in my tot bag than a camera.

  • Hey Wanye, not sure where your travels will ultimately take you, but for no specific reason whatsoever I feel the need to point out that I’m officially re-opening the Oilers Nation Amsterdam Embassy in March when I move back there, so if your Asian adventures lead to you seeking asylum or refugee status in the European Union somewhere, I’m your dude.

    (for the uninitiated: http://oilersnation.com/2009/12/1/amsterdam recounts the humble beginnings of said Embassy.)

  • Welcome to Asia!

    Sucks about the TP. I’m in Western China. We have toilet paper but we can’t flush it so we need to trash it every time. When my mom was visiting so almost fainted when she heard about this.

    Just think of it as a fancy, hand-held bidet.

  • Wax Man Riley

    I can’t believe you don’t like the “sh!t and spray”. I have been to Thailand and China and once the food and booze started to really disagree with my stomach and I was going like 8 times a day spraying things off instead of wiping was bliss.

    If I had any sort of plumbing skills I would install one at home, you don’t know what you’re missing.

  • Talbot17

    My wife’s family is from Fietnam, and I have been there a few times. Ho Chi Minh City is somethine else. My 2 favourite things about traffic:

    1) You have no idea how many people can fit on a scooter, and you have no idea what type of large goods can be hauled on a scooter, until you’ve been to southeast asia (I’ve only been to Vietnam, but I am sure it is the same in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, etc.). I think the most my wife and I saw was 6 or 7 people on a scooter (some were children). My wife also saw a guy riding with a fride on the back seat of his scooter. There was a rope wrapped around it at the top, and he was holding the end of the rope over his shoulder (fridge was bigger than a beer fridge, but about 1/2 the size of a North american fridge).

    1) The speed at which vehicles travel seems backwards. Buses and big trucks fly around everywhere passing everyone. Cars and trucks are the next fastest. Motorcycles are the slowest. It seems like the rule is “I am bigger, so get out of my way”

  • Petr's Jofa

    John Spartan: [whispering to Lenina] Look, I don’t know if you guys know it, but uh… you’re out of toilet paper.

    Alfredo Garcia:[confused] Did… did you say toilet *paper*? Lenina

    Huxley: Um…they used handfuls of wadded paper back in the 20th… [Lenina, Alfredo, and Erwin all laugh]

    John Spartan: I’m happy that you’re happy, but the place where you’re supposed to have the toilet paper, you’ve got this little shelf with three seashells on it.

    Erwin:He doesn’t know how to use the three seashells! [Erwin continues to laugh, then calms down]

    Erwin:I can see how that could be confusing.

  • I agree completely with piratelock5. If you got faeces on your hand, you would wash it with soap and water, not simply wipe with toilet paper. Further, you never have to worry about irritation from repeated or too-vigorous wiping. Once you get used to the spritzer, you’ll want to install one in all your bathrooms.

  • Dude, what’s that silver box thingy by the toilet with the neatly triangled folded white thing? Looks like TP dude! Check it!

    If not, I would use that sanitizer wrap paper that they put on the toilet seat. Just crunch it up a few times to soften it up.

    My dad said growing up on the farm back in the Little House days, they used to look forward to Christmas time for the ultra soft mandarin orange wrappers. Said they would ball those up a few times and then flatten it out and it was damn good. Much better than the Sears catalog pages that they used year round.

    • Once I posted the picture of the bathroom in the restaurant that I had taken I realized it had toilet paper in that shot. But the tiny shower head was the key there. Believe me I have since visited a grocery store and have taken matters into my own hands. I have had to throw out most of my clothes but I now run a full compliment of the finest TP Vietnam could sell.

      As for PDP blowing out his back eating pancakes, I just don’t know what to say. Oh wait, yes I do:


  • My wifey spent some time in SE Asia in 2003. She to was amazed with the traffic in Ho Chi Minh city. First day there she saw a man carrying a fridge on the back of a scooter, an SE Asian fridge, but a fridge none the less. I will pass on a word of warning from the wifey, if you are going to Laos and plan on taking a bus anywhere in the countryside (which is almost the entire country), prepare yourself for a ride 1,000,000,000,000 times more terrifying than the great mall of west edmonton’s roller coaster minus the rails to hold the bus down and the over the shoulders steel harness. Good luck!