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Foolish behaviour in Saigon

Well, to be honest, this sort of foolishness would have taken place wherever there’s a gathering of Aussies and sufficient alcohol. And some classic OZ music.

Last night I chanced upon a bar called the Blue Gecko, which I heard was rather a cool place. Staffed by some very cute Veitnamese girls and patronised by a bunch of Westerners. I walked in, ordered a beer and noticed a green & gold autographed cricket shirt on the wall. Then I spotted a VB coaster, a few Ettamogah Pub cartoons on the walls.

Bloody hell, I thought, and I asked the girl behind the bar, “Is this an Australian pub?”

“Yes,” she said. “Where you from?”

“Sydney,” I replied, and laughed at the fact that of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, I had to walk into this one.

Struck up a conversation with some blokes from Melbourne who are now living here. The place was breifly invaded by a group of teenagers from the Gold Coast. I played, and had my arse kicked in, a few games of pool. Drank. Listened to some Cold Chisel, Hunters & Collectors, Crowded House (Ok, they’re Kiwi but we claimed them anyhow).

The Aussies on this spam list would probably be familiar with a song that came out about 20 years ago by a band called Redgum. The song is called I Was Only 19 (A Walk In The Light Green). It’s about a kid who gets shipped to Vietnam during the war and sees one of his mates get killed, and how he’s struggling with life back in the world. It’s a powerful song, and I’ve not heard it in a long long time. Being half-smashed in a bar in Saigon and hearing this was for me quite a moving experience.

Then they played Khe Sanh, and all felt right in the world. :) They also played Holy Grail, The Boys Light Up, Reckless… it felt really good to have that kind of familiarity for a while.

I drank a lot with 2 Vietnamese guys who now live in the US. Turns out that one of them is a sales rep for Tiger beer, hence we had quite a few freebies. :) At least I can justify my feeling like utter shite that way. I only spend about 125,000 dong all night, quite cheap really.

I somehow safely navigated the streets for 3 kilometers back to my guesthouse. I can barely remember getting there, I must’ve woke the owners to get in. I do remember apologising many times to them.

I was actually prepared to not like Saigon, given how noisy and intense I found most of the rest of the country. But I have to admit that I really like this town! Kind of reminds me of Sydney, strangely enough.

I’m flying back to Bangkok tomorrow to reunite with Jen, and today I’m too hung over (and it’s now too late in the day) for me to do a few things I wanted to. But I’ll be back at some point. :) It’s just up the road from home, innit?

Not a lot of spirituality in Saigon from me, I’ll admit. But I’m starting to learn now that once you’re on the Path you never really leave it. You might stop and rest for a while, but it’s still the Path.

So… having a blast, love you all, take care, all that bollocks. :)

Karsoe/Paul C.

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