Pho-get that, time keeps on slipping, and something of a cul de sac…

The Wandering Nerd May 1st, 2008

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s been a while, but other things have come up. Quite literally in some cases, and before you get your dirty little minds all a twitter, it was some Pho I had in Saigon. *shiver* I hate regurgitating - physically I mean, comedically I only have like 5 funnies so they just have to be re-used - but yet again I’m putting the flush before the fill, so let’s begin again…

So after the cheerful, lighthearted and breezy tour of Phonm Penh, we headed on into Vietnam towards Saigon or as those crazy kids are calling it now a days, Ho Chi Minh City. Apparently that Ho Chi Minh guy is a pretty big name over here. Kinda’ like Justin Timberlake and Dick Cheney all rolled into one.

I had very little interaction with Saigon, mainly due to a rather explosive case of food poisoning. After a long bus ride - and a surprisingly easy border crossing - we grabbed a hotel and some lunch. Which struck back on me later that afternoon. As I said in the earlier posts regarding Tim’s culturing and nurturing of stomach weasels, I find gastrointestinal distress funny only when it doesn’t involve my gatros, intestines or my ‘nals’ for that matter. I was not amused. More to the issue at hand I was not mobile. So the intended and typical wandering around of the city didn’t occur. We walked through the old market and some park downtown, but didn’t get to far afield. I was so out of it I even forgot my camera, leaving Tim to take some snaps. Which presented it’s own problem later. Wait for it.

Probably the most convenient method for traveling around Vietnam are the Open Bus tickets. You spend between $20 and $60 USD and you get a ticket book of slips which allow you to hop on and hop off these tour buses at various places throughout Vietnam. The more you pay, the more stop off points. As to the buses themselves, we splurged a bit and spent that extra $3 USD for the ’sleeper’ buses. That’s right, we’re high rollers, lap of luxury. I did not have high hopes for these ’sleeper’ things. They turned out to actually be quite comfy. It’s a normal style touring bus, but with all of the seats ripped out and three rows of double bunked mini barcaloungers lining the sides and middle of the bus with two walkways. The only downside is the width, which isn’t designed for the western frame. I’m not a big guy, well, I’m not a small guy either, but I’d say I’m pretty normal sized when it comes to the western male. So when my shoulders are touching both sides of the bunk, it feels a bit claustrophobic.

The eight hour bus trip from Saigon to Nha Trang blossomed into 12 hours and by that point, we were both going well stir crazy, and thanks to my stomach issues, I hadn’t really consumed much in the way of food for well over 36 hours. We found a little hotel and walked directly across the street to the “Why Not Bar & Restaurant” figuring….it was the nearest eating establishment that was open. I braved a bit of spaghetti putanesca and even a “Why Not Bucket” figuring…it was the most cost effective drink on the menu and it had limes in it which helps to stave off the scurvy. Some of you may question the intelligence of eating spaghetti when there is the very real and projective possibility that one will see it again. Here is where I delve into some rather unpleasant imagery, so feel free to skip the next paragraph.

As I mentioned initially I hate to throw up, it’s almost a psychosis - yes, perhaps one of many, now shut up I’m talking. Even when I know, know, that it will make me feel better I still fight it. It’s that whole having your body rebel against your intent thing. I’m not talking something simple like a sneeze, having a leg fall asleep then being forced to walk like some village drunkard wearing a tattoo gun sock for a few minutes, or even letting a sizable stinky go around your lover and - in lieu of having a blanket to pull over their unsuspecting head - being forced to immediately come up with some reason to take them quickly to the next room, block, or city for the duration of the cloudkill. Oh, no, that’s normal, and sometimes fun depending on my current turpitude level. Throwing up, on the other end, is an act of willful rebellion by my innards that I simply cannot abide, like Cheney and the faces of any member of his hunting party. Now, if I am going to give in to my digestive system pushing the panic button, I prefer it to be on my own terms as much as I can. As it is, I got lucky with the Pho - which is essentially the national dish of Vietnam, it’s noodle soup with accouterments. I feel, if I’m forced into the position of violently purging my internal valve system in the opposite direction in which it’s meant to flow, there should be something in it for me. So if I do have to go all bile-geyser, I personally find it much more fulfilling to do so after having consumed a decent amount of noodles or pasta of the spaghetti style. Stay with me if you’ve come this far. For that instant when all the bells, whistles and klaxons go off in your brain saying, “WHOA SHIT! THIS IS BAD, THIS IS SO BAD!!!” and everything goes all sickly pink and peach colored, and the spaghetti emerges again from whence it’s been banished, and the walls of the room echo with the defeaning hollow roar of something that just shouldn’t be… In that moment, with the spaghetti, and the horrible growling, I like to pretend I’m Cthulu, just released from some Stygian abyss. Some people want a cold rag on their head, I want to be one of the Great Old Ones. I know, it’s hard to believe I’m single.

For those who skipped the last paragraph, and those that wish you had, let’s continue. The ‘bucket’, consisting of something about the size of half of a peanut butter jar really got up on top of me and was doing it’s best to nail my eyelids shut by the time I was even halfway through it. So I called it an early night and crashed leaving Tim to ‘play a few games of pool and then be crashing too.’ I read a bit, watched a bit of Vietnamese television - which basically consisted of these two pop starlet looking Vietnamese girls screaming at the camera in unison and joyfully fell into a slumber until very late in the night, so late in fact, it’s more appropriate to say early in the morning when I was awoken by a…well, by Tim.

I’ve given it some thought and I’m not going to go into anything more about this story, or the following day. At least I’m not going to go into on here, he may talk about it on Versive. Not my story, but for my part I got to pay back some karmic debt and for Tim’s part, well I think he earned up some karmic credit, or his ‘uppance’ had come. The points that are necessary to the continuation of my narrative are this. He no longer has his wallet, nor his camera. So I’m forced into being all Daddy Warbucks for the time being, which is kinda’ happening at a time when I’m ill equipped to fund this whole travel thing for two. /me eyes the “Buy Me a Coffee” link somewhat meaningfully…there, on the right…no, below the “Have you seen this” and above the poll…

More importantly however, the loss of the camera means the loss of any of the photos from Saigon. Yeah, I’m distraught as well. So in lieu of any photos from Saigon:

Here are some pictures of Tarsiers.

i won’t believe in heaven and hell.
no saints, no sinners, no devil as well.
no pearly gates, no thorny crown.
you’re always letting us humans down.

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