Getting Drunk and Lost in Vietnam
We weren't really that drunk. But we were really lost! Let me explain.
It all started on the morning of day 2 of our motorbike journey around the north part of Vietnam. Oh yeah - we spent a week on motorbikes touring remote areas of Vietnam.
We stopped for gas to start the day off on a full tank. Across the street were high-ptiched screaming noises coming from behind a big truck backed up to a building. I walked across the street to check it out.
As I got closer, the screams became louder and louder. It was quite defining. People were shouting and poking big sticks into the truck through holes in the sides. Pigs spilled out onto the ground on their heads and butts with each poke from the men with sticks.
It was a pig market.
There was a walled off area the men they were dumping the pigs into. Several people were tying up the pigs and putting them on scales. Others were smacking them on the butts to get them to move out of the way.
One lady purchased a pig and was having trouble loading it onto her motorbike. This is a full-size pig we're talking about! So William helped her get it on the bike.
As she drove off, a man from the other side of the building motioned for me to come into his house. I came in and saw a number of men circled around a meal cross-legged. They motioned for me to sit down.
They offered up some rice and meat. It didn't look at all appetizing, but I ate it in fear that they would be insulted if I refused.
The meat was so full of gristle, that it was impossible to chew, so I tried to swallow it whole but part of it was stuck in my back teeth. Half of the chunk of gristle was in my throat and the other half was completely stuck in between my molders.
I have no idea how my face looked at that point, but it probably wasn't a pleasant one.
I got my tongue underneath the gristle and lifted up. Instead of dislodging from my teeth, it came back up from my throat. Not pleasant.
After a few minutes of trying to communicate anything to each other, the man that invited me in poured a clear liquid from an old plastic soda bottle into a shot glass. He handed it to me.
Generally speaking I try to avoid drinking hard liquor. I have never been flat-out drunk before and I don't have a desire to be. But knowing that in some cultures, it's very insulting to refuse food or drink when someone offers it, I took a sip.
Very disgusting stuff.
Before each sip we all had to do a "cheers". I was finally able to choke down the moonshine and was happy that it was over. But I was wrong.
The man took my empty shot glass and filled it to the top again.
Dang it! I tried to communicate that my stomach couldn't take it (although, I'm a big boy and I have a really high tolerance for alcohol.) But they just kept pouring and "topping me off".
This went on for about 45 minutes and I had drank about 5 shots of hard-core moonshine. At this point, I'm starting to feel the affects. A little light-headed. Not totally balanced. I think it's safe to say I was drunk.
Being drunk while driving a motorbike in one of the most dangerous countries to ride a motorbike is not something I wanted to do. So William and I tried to "wait it off" for a few minutes at the mans house who was now serving us tea.
A few minutes isn't enough to wait out being drunk and if we stayed any later, they'd start shoving moonshine down our throats again. So we made a decision to drive down the road a few meters and pull over to hang out for an hour or two.
So we said our goodbyes. It was almost like they were saying a long farewell to a good friend. The man who invited me in gave me a big hug and a big kiss on the cheek. They were all really happy to have us over for lunch.
So we drove a few meters down the road and stopped at a cafe type place and ate Choco-Pies to try and absorb the alcohol.
After we had sobered up, we headed towards our next destination which was only a few hours away. Or so we thought.
Seven hours later, the sun is about to set and we are completely lost in a tiny village on an island.
Expect to see the rest of this story in a special video series; The Two Guys Around the World: "Vietnam Special" inspired by Top Gear. It's a seven-day, seven-video series about our motorbike adventure in the north of Vietnam. Coming in a few weeks.