Make me one with everything, I swear to the dark gods, and where the hell is everyone?

The Wandering Nerd May 6th, 2008

If you ever happen to be traveling around the world - like ya’ do - and get stuck somewhere, Nha Trang isn’t all that bad of a place to be stuck. We’re a block from the beach, across the street from a bar with a happy hour that lasts from 9 am to midnight - deadly, and we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to cuisine types of cheap eats.

We’re stuck because Tim’s replacement card is enroute to the hotel, along with some other weird card reader thing that he needs to do any sort of internet banking. Apparently the English banking system doesn’t mind taking in money but they go through a staggering effort to make it so you cannot get it back out, move it around or see how much of your money they have. I don’t think the British actually have a word for ‘convenient’, probably no room left with how many ways they have to apologize. There are a goodly number of British travelers over here and they apologize for everything, “I’m sorry, is it okay if we order?…Forgive me, but could we pay now?…I’m sorry, what did you say again?” This shouldn’t turn into a litany, but damn, I’m wondering what kind of secret dark guilty secret every British person harbors at a deep genetic level. Probably still feeling bad of that whole, ‘Let’s colonize THE WORLD!” thing. I have to wonder if someday Americans will evolve into something similar, what with our thinly veiled imperialism. Though knowing what I know of America, I doubt we’ll ever be all that keen to apologize for anything, much less everything.

I’ve been meaning to cover the costs associated with this world travel stuff, and someone recently reminded me of it, so here goes. Travel through Europe is pricey, like really pricey. I’d have to say about 70% of my funds went to my time in the EU. Having to do it all over again I would be able to cut that down now that I know how things work, but not really by much. Staying in a hostel over there is usually about USD $20 a night. Now when you get to SE Asia things change dramatically. Right now the place I’m staying - double room shared with Tim - has a fridge, and en suite bathroom - is only USD $10 a night, and as I said it’s only a block from the beach, air conditioned and quite nice.

Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam are kinda’ strange when it comes to money. In Cambodia you actually use the US dollar, which was odd to get back to, and to be pulling Jacksons out of the ATM. In Vietnam however, everyone is a millionaire. How awesome is it that their money is the ‘Dong’, I’ve devoted a small portion of my brain just to keep chuckling about that for the whole time I’m here. There are 16,000 Dong to every one dollar, so a 100 bux makes you 1.6 million Dong richer. I don’t understand why the countries where inflation is like this - in Laos it was 8000 Kip to one dollar - don’t just start printing money without the extra three 0’s and move on. Think about all the money it would save in printing costs. So a quick breakdown on costs, room is about 160,000 Dong a night, a double vodka and tonic is 15,000 Dong, and a nice steak meal is 90,000 Dong. Yeah, you can eat Pho from a street vendor for 5,000 Dong but after my experiences I’m sticking to western food for a bit before delving back into the culinary equivalent of 3-Quinuclidinyl Benzilate when done improperly.

For those that asked, yes I am feeling better. It passed rather quickly. When one comes staggering out of the restroom bedraggled and covered in sweat and the only phrase one can utter is, “…tabula…rasa…” it is rather nice to not tarry long. I’m back to the pinnacle of health, or as close to it as I ever make it.

I did at least get to get some more diving while I was here. One bad point about getting my diving certs, and indeed starting my diving in Thailand, is they have some really great dive sites there. Which puts something of a wet blanket on the rest of the dive site you can go to. Diving here is nice enough, but after some of the cool stuff I got a chance to do back in the Andaman Sea it just doesn’t really compare. At least I’m getting up in my numbers of dives - 25 total now - so I don’t feel quite like the newbie when I’m under. Still have the occasional moment of “OH SHIT GONNA DIE!!! SWIM UP, SWIM UP!!!” but they are less frequent.

I’m gonna’ be moving on to Hoi An tomorrow, leaving Tim here in Nha Trang to wait on his stuff. I’m not exactly sure what all my travel plans are but I have this nagging urge to get moving again. Even though I’m still in limbo regarding the Melbourne loans and such, as well as any sort of job or living arrangement for the summer. Still so many things need to happen that are thoroughly out of my control, which is not a position I care to be in. Frustrating.

Ah, and I must say Vietnam has no idea how to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I was sorely disappointed. Stopped by ‘El Coyote’ expecting them to be doing something for the fifth. Turns out the highest recommended Mexican restaurant in town is run by the French, the French! Something is terribly wrong in the world when the French start making burritos. On the menu they only had listed ‘frozen margaritas.’ I’m something of a purist when it comes to these things and a frozen will not do. I’ve had - on numerous occasions - the tell tale blank stare of total bewilderment when I’ve asked for anything that even slightly deviates from the menu when traveling in SE Asia. So I knew the moment I asked for my margarita ‘on the rocks’ as opposed to ‘frozen’ that it was going to be a long night. The waitress just pointed to the bartender, who looked western enough that I had hope. So I walked up and asked if he was able to do on the rocks. Bastard looked at me like I should be wearing a helmet when outside the ‘home’ and said, in a very frenchly way, ‘of course…’ I’ll translate that for the benefit of the reader, what he said may have been something innocuous, but what he meant was, ‘of coorz you zilly engleesh pig dog, I shall juzt not uze ze blendher.’ Bleedin’ French. I will give him the credit for making a decent margarita, but the guacamole was pureed green pepper, no avacados in sight over here. Strange that the one food I’m really missing lately has been Tex Mex. I realize how horrible it is, but the first thing I’m gonna’ chow down on when I get back to the states is gonna’ be a Grilled Stuffed Burrito from the Bell…

Nerd out with the herd out!



the waiting drove me mad…
you’re finally here and I’m a mess
i take your entrance back…
can’t let you roam inside my head
-pearl jam

2 Responses to “Make me one with everything, I swear to the dark gods, and where the hell is everyone?”

  1. Hoshion 08 May 2008 at 10:22 am

    Glad to hear you’re feeling better, brother.
    .
    The Nam sounds like it is actually a pretty cool place, overall. Not at all full of demons, villains and barbarians like Hollywood would have us believe. (where’s that smiley rolling his eyes again…)
    .
    I get whatcha mean by America never being apologetic about anything too. While I am not one to be overly grieved by a sense of guilt for things I had nothing to do with personally, I do recognize that there are plenty of issues in the proverbial closet that we, as a country, should be rather ashamed of. I just don’t subscribe to the kind of guilt that is impressed on Jews and Catholics and the like. I guess I just feel sorry for some categories of people who got completely screwed over back in the early days all the way up to present. Sorry…now let’s move on.
    .
    Well, let the brois know when your hoping to make it back, assuming you’re not so broke you’re stuck there now. We will arraive at the airport en masse or maybe just a couple of us. That way, the harrassing can commence IMMEDIATELY upon your arrival!!! :P
    .
    Anyway, I hope everything congeals for you soon in regards to school and life in general.
    .
    As always, be safe, have fun and, remember: “…you just don’t lead them as much”. :D
    .
    Peace, out…
    .
    Hoshisan

  2. The Parentson 09 May 2008 at 12:17 am

    So, glad to hear you are feeling much better. Hope it never happens again. I know that is not a good experience . Keep on feeling better, and hope to see you soon. the Parents

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