I’m back and I’m hungrier than ever. That trip has had just the affect that I had hoped and that Bec promised it would. I’m feeling relaxed, my mind has been away (not totally I must admit) from trading and sports for nearly three weeks. Stepping back gave me not only time to think but clear my mind, make some plans and get ready to rip into a big portion of 2016. I have some goals, I read some books on the trip and I’m feeling more equipped than ever to move forward with my trading. I feel a big mental shift in the way that I’m going to be approaching things, it excites me.
From the holiday, I’ve decided to list some stories and the rest for those that are interested will be in captions in the photos. There is too much to cover really and I like to keep the posts as short as possible. So let’s get right into the first little story. This adventure kicked off in the south and after landing in Ho Chi Minh we took a car 4 hours to Cần Thơ. The driver barely spoke a bar of English, so when Bec needed to stop for the bathroom, it was time for a game of charades. The driver wasn’t picking up what we were putting down, I told Bec; “you’re in trouble, you might have to hold it”, with two hours left, that wasn’t reasonable. The driver had a pen and paper so I did my best, “perfectly scaled” drawing of what needed to happen.
We stayed in a home stay and it was perfection. I will give them a little plug (Green Village Home Stay) as this place was seriously brilliant. One of the staff there had taught herself five words; “hello”, “Vietnam”, “one more”and “no”. Although it doesn’t sound like much you always knew what she was trying to get across. One night she ripped out this “snake rice wine“, I put my hand up to try it, after 10 seconds of not foaming at the mouth 6 of the other 8 guests at dinner had a crack at. It tasted pretty “snakey”, one of those things where you can say you tried it. Unless of course you were the 65+ y.o David Attenborough type who was adamant that it was delicious and with our friend yelling “hello, Vietnam, one more”, holding another shot of it up he swooped in, dropped to one knee and chopped the fuck out of that shot glass, what a man (he didn’t actually drop to one knee but he did have another shot).
Never one to shirk the chance to step outside the comfort zone with the food; rat, frog and snake was some distance outside the zone. Bec is petrified and I mean petrified of rats, so it was an absolute credit to her for trying it. Truth was though, it was delicious, texture and presentation reminded me of a small bird like a quail and the flavour was similar. Frog was by far and away the best of the three, it was seriously like my three favourite meats rolled into one. Taste like chicken, flesh texture like fish and skin texture and taste like pork crackling. It was so good I ordered a plate for myself after the first lot was done. Snake was shit, the inside was scooped out, mixed with spices, rerolled in the skin, then fried. The outside skin was crunchy but the taste and texture on the inside was pretty rank. It was served with raw fermented fish sauce, which smelt and tasted like the name suggests, feral.
While out with Becs cousin Chris who lives in Hanoi we tried “Funky Balloon”. In fact the whole bar was doing it and I really had no idea what was about to happen. I was told to take the balloon, inhale it, exhale it back into the balloon and repeat. I got to about the 4th time of doing it and stood up thinking “this isn’t doing anything”, then boom it hit me. The music echoed through my head and time stood still, something wasn’t right and then I blacked out. When I came to everyone was pissing themselves laughing and my hand was wet. I asked “what the fuck was that and what just happened?”. “You drooled on yourself” said Bec, my jumper had a massive drool patch on the front of it and my hand was fairly covered too. Seems the “funky balloon” which is loaded with “happy gas” made me a vegetable for a little bit, got to be good for the brain, right?
The H’Mong people (local minority) work hard for a dollar, they follow you in the most awful hiking gear for kilometres at a time just to try and sell you something. Everything started with; “hello, what your name”? “Where you from”? Minh explained that they didn’t understand my responses, they just ask it over and over. I tested out his theory after being asked for the 10th time; “where you from” to which I replied; “my mum’s vagina”, Bec laughed, then I laughed, then the lady laughed.
Kids punting for marbles in the village. Most of Asia has some sort of ban on gambling. There is exceptions to that rule, but mostly the gambling is done ‘underground’. We managed to see a variation of ‘heads or tails’ being played by some of the boys in Ta Van. They had three little squares of plastic on a plate, the solid bowl goes over the top, shake, shake, shake, put down your cash and take turns in calling “white” or “blue” (majority wins). The boys were all under 10 so they were playing each other for their marble collection instead of money. I did slip the boys a cheeky 10,000 VND each so they could get themselves a treat. All three slammed it in the pocket just in time before their mum came outside. Sugar Cane all round at the local corner store for those boys.
Last stop; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This is always a fun way to start or end any trip. My friend from Australia has been teaching English there for the last 8 years and lives there with his wife. Things always get pretty loose and this time around was no exception. We started at a non gay bar (despite the name) called “Bruce & Cowboys. The name is an affectionate one created by the locals as the owners are two Indians; one named Bruce and the other who wears a cowboy hat. There is one barrel out the front, no chairs and we basically bought this cheap Korean beer called “Hite” (very tasty drop mind you) for $1 AUD a beer and got plastered.
The crew of 4 decided that a new watering hole would be shrewd. The pool table at the new bar was a nice touch, however when I thought we had been beaten by 7 balls, I did “the right thing” and went pants down around the table. Muslims don’t really like that and Pip was quick to call for “the cheque please”. The rest of the night was filled with drinking, randoms, food and drunk chat.
The next day one of the lads from the night before, went back to Bruce and Cowboys and Bruce had this to say about me:
“I respect your people, but Bret’s friend, last night, he’s not very well in the head”.
It’s like Brucey has known me for a whole lifetime.
On the trading front, I did do a very small bit here and there on the cricket. I’ll update everything in the way of money won and lost etc in a separate post soon. As always, thanks for reading and if you enjoy this blog please share it with anyone that you think might enjoy it too.