Still Awake in Saigon

Previously on DFN we’d joined a couple of guys from England and Scotland for beers on the sidewalk of what was a little hole-in-the-wall breakfast joint deserted aside from us.  The sun’s up at this point and we’re all just slamming lagers and busting balls, these guys can take it as good as they give it and we get a lot of looks from the locals on their way to work while we’re pissed – and on the incline – at something like 6:30 in the morning.  We’ve completely blacked out on the names of these guys so I’ll refer to them as Tommy and Scotty.

Oh yeah, we also hadn’t seen Drisdelle in three or four hours and had no idea what happened to him.

From among the Vietnamese straggled a skinny, sick-looking white dude, I’d guess in his fifties but has the look of someone who could be in his early thirties but took twenty years off their lifespan with the liquor.  His eyes and eyelids are all moving independent of each other but he manages to see us with beers and he starts staggering towards us, I see a situation about to happen.  He slurs out a bunch of gibberish, he’s completely fucked and also Irish but somehow manages to be just barely comprehensible.  We all look at each other and wonder what the hell this guy’s deal is, what’s he on, and he takes it upon himself to grab a chair and pull up with us.  We look back at the shop owner and the look of despair in his eyes strongly suggests this train wreck isn’t new to these parts.

He begins droning on about god knows what while he bums a smoke off Tommy.  As he goes to light the filter I snag it and flip it around and he lights the right end.  His head turns, eyes staring not at me but through me, and with what I believe was a genuine look of gratitude he tells me “Mate, you’re a legend.”  He then forgets he said it and for the next five minutes continues to drone on about how I’m a legend in between paranoid ramblings.  I was paying more attention to what he was doing than what he was saying but I do recall he missed a flight a week or so ago, was completely out of cash and had a cheap hotel room given to him for free by some locals who took pity on him.  He looks like he missed his flight out of Nam about 15 years ago.

I’m sitting next to this maniac so I’m 100% into “We’re Guards” mode, not really taking my eyes off of him, but Murphy’s sitting to the side of me and I see his head drooping.  Tommy flashes me a look of incredulity but then we notice Scotty has nodded off as well, even though he’s within stabbing range of our Irish shitshow.  To be fair the guy was probably harmless but at the very least I was worried about him robbing one of us.

While the Irish guy is rambling Tommy looks to Scotty and Murphy and says “Let’s ditch them and leave them with this guy.”  He was kidding but jesus that’d be a dirty trick.  I think Tommy was looking for trouble because he starting buying beers for our lunatic and adding completely unnecessary gasoline to the fire.

Murphy and Scotty come to and Tommy starts telling us about a UFC fight the boys were planning to go watch in a few hours, we should come.  Irish guy takes this to me him as well so he’s like “Yeah boys, we’re mates, let’s get on the nosh until everything’s gone, we’re in this forever together” and Tommy’s eyes go wide.  I make up an excuse about how we were going sightseeing today, the other guys make up another excuse and somehow we manage to ditch the disaster, cut around the corner and duck into a bar that had the pre-match show on.  Murphy and I aren’t really UFC fans but we still aren’t ready for bed even though it’s something like 7:30 am at this point, the Brits were good company and the bar had a killer-looking menu.

The early tickets are on and it’s fairly entertaining, Murphy and I order up some chicken parmy with mash and veg and it’s unfuckingbelievable, the sauce has a spicy kick to it and plenty to swirl around into the potatoes.  It’s so good we order two plates for the Brits because we insist they get into it.  Quite possibly the best meal of the trip up to this point.

We’re shooting the shit with everyone in the bar and even though it’s crazy early there are at least a half dozen other people getting loud and a bit rowdy, and I don’t think they’d been up all night like the four of us had been.  The boys start talking about getting some grappling going and the next time I look over at them they’re eating chicken parmy shirtless in anticipation of some floorwork, but I think the delicious sauce distracts them from mixing it up on the filthy Saigon floor.

Between fights they tell us about another bar that they heard was the place to watch the fight with a shitton of expats but it was a ways across town, have to taxi it.  Sounds dope, let’s do it.  We square up, flag down a cab and jump out at a place called Game On.  It looks like any sports bar in any town in the US of A but it is packed right to the gills, 90% white folks, everyone loud and stoked for the next fight like it’s 10 or 11 pm in the place.  I think it’s maybe 9 am at this point.

Like I said, neither Murphy or I really follow UFC so we had no idea how many fights led up to the main ticket but it was a goddamn entertaining show even for noobs.  The four of us started absolutely destroying Bloody Marys to the point that the manager had to come over and apologize because we’d drunk them dry of ingredients.  Sitting next to us with this huge shaved head monster who looked like he could kill all four of us at once and the Brits were giving him a bit of the business, joking about throwing one of us to him so the rest of us could survive.  Talked to plenty of Americans including one guy from Boston who I got into a big discussion with the Bruins and Brad Marchand, he tells me his kid wears 63 and flips out his phone to show me pics of his kid meeting The Noseface Killah.  Talked to the owners for a while, a couple of older gentleman, seem to vaguely recall one was a Brit but sure the other was an Aussie because the last place I lived down under was a suburb of Brisbane called Annerley and he said “Small world, I grew up in Annerley”.  We got a pile of snacks on the go too, nachos and wings and despite my heavily intoxicated state I’d pledge an oath that these were some of the best goddamned wings I’ve ever had.

About me and Murphy not really being UFC fans…  While we remain pretty ignorant about it we both gained a ton of appreciation for the sport when Woodley and Wonderboy Thompson fought immediately prior to the big fight.  Amazing comeback by Thompson, everyone at the bar was on their feet yelling, fists the air cheering for Wonderboy, it was electric.  I have no idea where we’ll be for UFC 206 but I’ll do whatever I can to find a bar to watch it just based on how awesome this fight was.

The main fight came on and it was a bit of a letdown as it was fairly one-sided with McGregor just working the other guy over.  Still put on a good show though with some quotes after the fight that had every face in the bar either in stitches or groaning.

As the crowds piled out we high-fived and bro-hugged our drinking companions and got a pic outside with them.


We stuck around for another round while we figured out what to do with ourselves.  It was around noon at this point so there was no point in going to bed but it would be good to get back to the hostel to find out whether Drisdelle had made it home.  Getting some more wings would also be good so we did that.

Eventually we crash out into the daylight, grab a taxi and repeat the fuck-up we did the day before when we get them to drop us off at the wrong hostel with a similar name a few blocks over.  Walking up the street we meet our pub crawl organizer from the night before and she’s chuckling with a smile on her face.  “Have you seen your friend yet?”  “No, why??”  “He’s pacing around looking for you guys, he looks really worried.”  Haha, okay, we should probably find him.

He’s not there when we get back though (2 pm?) and we can’t very well go to sleep without setting his mind at ease so we grab some beers and join the dude we were talking to from Whistler and a couple of Swiss guys in an impromptu afternoon Saigon street party.  We keep the beers flowing and buy snacks from a woman with a snack cart about 10 feet away. Murphy tells me that the Swedish girl at the cart with him said, “Are you the guys who’ve been up all night drinking?”, “Yeah I think that’s us”, “How did that happen?”, “Bit of an accident.. well, no not really an accident I guess”.

Drisdelle rolls up around 4 with a big grin on his face, shaking his head.  “Well at least I don’t have to call the embassy now.” We jump up and dance grind him, “Party rock is in the house tonight!”, “Get away from me you stinky pigs!”

We catch up, get our bearings and decide to go get some eats.  There’s a little place a few blocks away with Vietnamese and Italian food but as we’re ordering my eyes get heavy.


When I come to the boys are finishing up their food.  Drisdelle looks fine but Murphy’s nodding off into his plate as well but before he goes down his chopsticks poke him in the forehead and bring him around.  There’s no food in front of me.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been drinking for over 24 hours, maybe it’s because I’m hungry, maybe it’s because the lasagna looks absolutely delightful, but I kind of snap.  “What the fuck?  You assholes didn’t wake me up?  That lasagna looks absolutely delightful.”  They try to defuse me saying I can order now but I don’t want to be the goon who eats alone so I’m pissed, strongly consider shutting it down.  At least I’m wide awake now.  Drisdelle’s feeling pretty wiped so he crashes out while Murphy and I hit the strip, again.


It’s fairly early and we’re in that looking-for-trouble kind of feeling so instead of running the main strip we cut down a network of narrow alleyways.  Mostly they’re people’s apartments with the front doors wide open so when we walk past we’re only six or seven feet from their entire living room, kids running around and the TV on, a lot of surprised-to-see-white-guys-in-the-alleyways expressions.

With a walk I cool my jets a bit and we cut into what’s become our regular joint, the Bookworm Cafe, where we order an English Breakfast Pizza and both my rage and my hunger subside.  English breakfast – including beans! – on a pizza, no one can be mad after that.


And of course, who else shows up but…




As we leave about eight girls from a girlie bar hoot and holler at us to come on in for a drink.  Well, we have been up for almost two days now, it’ll be really funny.  We go inside.

They lead us to a table, we order drinks and all of the girls come over and stand awkwardly next to us.  None of them says anything.   They all leave.  “Were we supposed to pick out a girl or something?”  “Yeah I think so.”  I go back out to the entryway and gesture for the hottest four girls to come inside (one for Murphy and Drisdelle, two for myself).  We’re deep in the LTZ again but lady drinks are cheap so we order up a round for the girls, joke with them while they try to flirt with us in very lame fashion, kill a few more drinks and then roll out.

The strip’s opened up now but we’re just about down so we find a shisha bar, get some beers and blow big baller tokes.


Oh my god, the pink munchkin is back.  I decide to buy some gum from her this time and she’s bouncing this way and that, after making some high-pitched noises she kisses me on the cheek and runs off.  That chick is something else.

Past midnight now and we’re actually planning on doing shit tomorrow so we shut it down and clamber into our hostel beds.

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