Sunday, May 10, 2009

People are dieing to get out of here: Nothing Much Happened Again Today In Vietnam: VIII

Bloomberg, Rico, Death, Scientology, Twitter, Nothing Much Happened Again Today in Vietnam, 11:05pm Friday - Drinking beer with Adam was just relaxing and enjoyable. Out of our usual Internet cafe we made it down to my favorite deer-meat restaurant and pulled up a table streetside across from the no-tell motel that sports a large sign boasting rooms for 70,000 dong per hour. That's roughly six bucks. The stream of taxi girls in and out of the place stands in stark contrast to the daylong reports of financial crisis on Bloomberg. Whatever crisis we're having it certainly isn't affecting the boom-boom business - in fact it may just be helping it. What better relief from a tough day on the market floor than a good healthy shag - sure we'll have two more bottles of cold BGI beer. B.G.I, pronounced "biggy" by the staff is a damn fine beer that costs about 50 cents and comes in a 16 ounce bottle. Adam and I, drank a bunch of them. - 3:00am Saturday - is a darn fine time to leave the streetside restaurant - having watched them disassemble the place, the tables have all been folded up, woks scrubbed and unbrellas collapsed before a thorough bleaching and sanitization of the concrete and asphalt happens out of big ten gallon plastic buckets - Adam, who has worked in the F&B business remarks on their near hospital-like attention to cleanliness. - 3:10am Saturday - I arrive home to an uncharacteristicly bright building. Why the hell are all the lights on at this hour of the morning? On my way up to the third floor I see that my friend's apt is lit and I can hear the TV. A rap on the door and I'm greeted by a man who looks fresh from a streetfight - his chest cut, arms scratched and a large cut black eye beginning to swell - he invites me in. Not a small man, but a more than robust Irishman who looks to be able to hold his own in most any altercation, he recounts to me a story of playing Jimi Hendricks too loud in another friends apt. and incurring the wrath of another tenant. He tells of the tenant first hitting him with a tazer stun-gun and then returning to his room for a pair of what seem to be described as barber-wire brass knuckles - geez it's all done quite a job on my buddy, but he'll live. Then, almost as if the current story doesn't have enough intrigue he tells me that Rico has died. Rico, an affable German of certain beer adoration was just in his forties and didn't seem to have any physical problems aside from his daily love of suds. The cause of death was described as a heart attack - Around here, in the past year I've heard heart attack and stroke both used to describe deaths that were more probably caused by a combination of prescription drugs and alcohol. I begin to think that the environment I've surrounded myself with may not be healthy. - 3:27pm Saturday - after a sleep worthy of a man who has been up till 4:30am I answer my phone. It's a man I have just recently met at my Internet cafe. He promises to stop by my apt. just to say hi and takes more than an hour to accomplish this. Once in my apt. he tells me that back in Australia he learned he could see other people's thoughts and futures and such, which lead him to understand that he also had the power to cure people's ills with the laying of hands - and things are just getting interesting. His tales proceed to a discovery of the meanings and truths contained within Scientology and his revelations on his first readings of L. Ron Hubbard. Rather than be critical or judgemental or disbelieving, I decide that this would be an excellent time to ask a Scientologist a few questions - I tell him I thought Travolta's BattleField Earth was one of the worst films ever made and he is taken aback - to him it was gospel. I then ask him if he misses the loss of his powers - apparently he could do mystical things in Australia but it doesn't work in Asia due to what he described as "repressive societies". He responds, "No, I was going crazy walking down the street and seeing everybody's thoughts" - It's time we got out of my house. I was beginning to feel uncomfortable and questioning the idea of if any of the days input was healthy. I decided it was not. - 5:47pm Saturday - Exiting my house we are greeted by Robert, a newly found acquaintance of the Scientologist. Robert is from Australia as well and seems a nice enough fellow. I suggest that we all head back down to the deer-meat restaurant. Arriving there we pull up the same table I had had the evening before with Adam and we order some food and again beer. When Robert's female friend arrives it is fairly clear that she is a "working girl" but that not being particularly unusual around here doesn't seem to be much of an issue - at least not to me. But for the Scientologist it seemed to be quite another matter entirely. Seeing the conversation between the Scientologist, Robert and his friend not going in a particularly friendly direction, I decide it's a good time to take a break to the men's room across the street. Upon my return it is explained to me that the Scientologist left in a huff and flurry of unkind words for all the women of the world's oldest profession - strange the most wildly different sets of rules we all set up to govern our inner selves. - 12:02pm Sunday - A text message on my phone and an email from my photographer friend Mads tells me that our public service project is going to be a big hit - great shots, I'll write more about this later. - 2:37pm Tuesday - Reactions to the book are nice and generating a lot of Twitterfare. Had two conversations with other writers this week and felt a little more healthy about life. By the end of the week I finished two days at a new job and was given a nice review by the boss - and other people are just dieing to get out of this place - 6:16pm Sunday - And as I've said before, nothing much happened again in Vietnam today.

Make sure to pause the podcast before playing the video.

For more in the "Nothing much happened" series, check below:

VIII People Are Just Dieing To Get Out of Here
VII The Hair Job
VI Happy New Year! Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!
V The Vietnam sNews
IV At The Center of Miss Universe
III My Walk in the Park Today
II The Stevie Wonder Post
I Ear Cleaning

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