Here’s a post I had drafted from one of our nights in the beginning of our motorbike trip…Still takes the cake for being the weirdest and possibly funniest thing that happened to me the entire trip:
After a long eight hour day of riding, Josh and I entered Quang Ngai around 9 pm in search of a place to stay before we rode another 300+ km to Hoi An, our next longer term destination.
Relieved that the first street we pulled into was full of signs saying Nha Nhgi – the Vietnamese version of a guesthouse – we pulled up to one with a few locals excitedly waving their arms at us. Usually we avoid these places like the plague, but being as tired as we were, we parked the bikes outside and I headed in to check out the room.
We usually stay at budget places that are hardly ever on sites like Agoda, HostelWorld or Expedia and we have found it easier to just drive around and walk into every place we see rather than book something in advance. Once we find a price that we like, we go up to take a look at the room before committing to any sort of stay. You know, just to make sure the place isn’t cockroach, mold or bedbug infested.
Well, off I went upstairs with this lady to check out the room and I could never be prepared for what happened next. I walk up the steps and look down the semi-lit hallways to see a bunch of 16-17 year olds peering out through the room’s windows. Six of them had already crowded the hallway before I hit the landing of the second floor and by the time I climbed up the stairs, there were about 12 of them all crowding around me and looking at me like I was a mythical creature on display at the zoo. I kid you not, they all walked up to me slowly, wide-eyed and amazed. At first I was extremely confused. Were all these kids hanging out here? Had they just got back from some event and happened to all be in the hallway at once? Nope. One of the kids from downstairs must have run up to let them know I was coming and they were all there to see me.
Being the somewhat awkward person I am, this made me extremely uncomfortable and I just stood there dumbfounded and frankly a little bit intimidated by the 15 people crowded around me. Finally after what felt like an eternity, one girl finally asked me “what do you want?”
Me: “uhhhh, can I see a room?”
Her: “Yeah, sure, but SELFIE with me first!!!!”
She then drags me off into a room down the hallway where it was light enough to take a picture. Selfie stick extended and camera facing me, I suddenly realized how freeking dirty my face was. I couldn’t help but think maybe that was why she was taking a picture of me!
After the selfie ordeal, I was finally shown the room where I took a quick look around just to be polite. By the time I came back down to the second floor again, I could barely even get off the last step because all the teenagers were there with their phones out, ready to catch a picture of me as I walked by. I couldn’t stop laughing, so I kind of just put my head down and walked as fast as possible to the exit. I finally got outside to Josh and told him we can’t stay here. Meanwhile, the people are following me out the door and he is just sitting their calmly trying to ask me why.
Josh: “Why can’t we? What happened? What’s wrong with it?”
Me: “I’ll tell you later, we just can’t stay here…they tried to take selfies with me.”
Josh: “That’s all?!
Damn we need a code word for DON’T ASK QUESTIONS, dammit.
Later that night…
After driving around for a bit, we finally found a decent place that kind of reminded me of the horrible rooms at the hotel attached to Fusion 5 five years ago. Exhausted, we hit the streets in search of some food. Within a few minutes, we spotted a KFC sign and with no need for discussion or agreement, we headed in.
You know that feeling when you’re late to class or you walk in to an important meeting that’s already started and everyone just stops what their doing to turn around and stare at you? Whelp, that’s what it felt like the second we walked into this KFC. It was at this point we realized that it must be pretty rare for any tourists to visit here and these people were probably just amazed to see some foreigners…especially one that is over 6 feet tall and covered in tattoos. At one point a little kid came running around a corner in KFC, saw Josh, stopped dead in his tracks, screamed and ran away. It’s like he was Godzilla or something.
Eventually we got over everyone staring at us and we enjoyed our meals. Little did we know, this would become quite the norm as we continued our trip through Vietnam. Sometimes it was for the good and sometimes it was just plain unsettling.
Stay tuned for some more stories,