Vietnam, little stories of weird encounters in Saigon
Updated: Mar 16, 2020
From the start I imagined that living in Vietnam would be a big difference to Germany or even Colombia, and as I expected, I got myself into a whole new culture, where it took some time to adapt. I have to say, that people over here are so nice, that the process has been rather easy, but still, here are some stories from my past two months that will probably make you laugh.
1. Getting the treatment on weekends
As some of you know, I have been working as a german teacher for the last five years, and I keep loving and doing this job here in Vietnam. If you are a teacher, you should know that when the weekend comes, you are in big need of a rest, recharge energies and relax. I found myself almost every two weeks in a beautiful place in the center of the city, to get my back massaged for about 90 minutes. Comparing prices with Europe, it's really cheap and the professionals do an amazing job, you even get hot stones on your back which I appreciate. The thing is, not all massage places in the city are just for massage. I got to really understand it, when I was riding home from a soccer game with some colleagues, and one of them asked me what I do on weekends, so I told him about that amazing where I come out as a newborn. He didn't seem very surprised, but looked me in the eyes and asked "handjob or blowjob?" He is waiting for an answer until this day.
2. Getting rid of the bush
After five months of traveling around, I noticed my hair growing out of proportion so of course I went to get it cut. I got a place recommended from a friend, so I went there on a friday afternoon. The place was nice, but they didn't speak any English. As my Vietnamese isn't still enough, I showed them with my hands what I wanted. After getting a cup of tea, some fruit, a head massage and a face mask (I didn't complain), I finally got to sit down for a haircut. Everything was going fine, he did as I told him, we communicated with google Translate, I was happy with the result, but then chaos emerged. As I was done, every single person working there just stopped what they were doing, and came to me to take a photo of my hair, of me, of me with my hair, of me with them... they touched it, they laughed, they were happy and amazed. I just guess that curly hair has to be something special over here.
3. Celebrating nothing and everything
I have always enjoyed a good soccer match, and as people over here usually play too, I have decided to join my colleagues twice a week for a friendly game 5vs5 on a small pitch. We play for around two hours, everyone is happy, we eat something and go home. Nothing serious, no money on play, noone arguing, everything goes very smooth. Sometimes there are people watching us people, sometimes not. But one they most of our colleagues went to see us, and it was pretty cool. We played as always, but as the game was over, people started celebrating, running around, being happy, taking photos, screaming. Wtf, I din't know what to do. The confusion in my face was priceless. We got to walk in line afterwards to get a medal, hold a trophy and get taken pictures of. Until this very day I have no idea what we won, but the medal shines on my desk.
4. What are they cooking over there?
It is no secret that in Asia eating dogs (or almost everything that is alive) has been normal for a long time. I was mentally prepared to see it and maybe even try it (just maybe), but on my first week I got a lot to take in. I just arrived, happy to be here, learning about everything, being a little confused about this and that, you know how it is. Adapting and trying to blend in. Well, a day after I arrived I was on my way to work, early in the morning, walking down the street, and I get past this restaurant that smells pretty bad. So I see this man burning the hairs off a dead dog. You know, we have these little things as pets in every other continent, so it was kind of a small, little shock. But this wasn't all of it. For lunchbreak we usually all go together to eat in some restaurant nearby, so I was walking beside one of my vietnamese colleagues, and I have to clarify, she doesn't speak much english, but still, we can kind of communicate and understand each other. So we walk past the restaurant I saw in the morning, and I go ahead and ask her, just to be sure, "There they cook dogs right?". She looks unsurprised and answers "not dogs, people." I have no idea what that meant, or if she misunderstood, but I think some things are better not to know.
Give me another two months and I will have some new stories to tell you. Meanwhile don't forget to check out my instagtam @robwandering and @robert_mikoleit for all new photos and videos. There is a lot more to come...