Good day all. Last night turned out to be quite the cultural experience. Around 6pm Michael asked me “hey man, you wanna go sing karaoke with some of my really good friends tonight? And having not sung God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood in quite some time i said “hell yeah! what time?” “Well my friend will come here at 9 and we’ll follow her to the spot.” She shows up right at 9 and we head out. Thinking it was going to be a quick little ride to the karaoke joint, sing a few songs with 4 people and go home, i was quite surprised when we went on an hour long tour of the city. Following someone through crazy Sai Gon traffic is no easy feat either. You’re watching someone in front of you to see if they’ll turn without a turn signal, meanwhile you’ve got 3 inches between you and the curb on the left, and six inches between you and a taxi on your right. Luckily i came up with a system to keep us in close proximity. “Eagle located, 15 meters radially at 12:30.” It worked, and after 20 minutes of the hour long commute we stopped at nearly every corner to ask for directions, and i’m certain we took more than 8 right turns. After about 30 minutes of driving Michael said to me “i think we’re getting something to eat first.” And alas, we did arrive at a restaurant. Instead of four people there were 10, and it was one of theirs’ birthday party, and they had been there for a while. We arrived to some fried duck with shrimp sauce, grilled chicken salad, and ordered some grilled fish for Michael, his friend and i.
While we were waiting for the fish, and since we had already taken some pictures, everyone at the party wanted there picture taken with everyone else:
We also ordered a duck hot pot:
Michael remembers the broth
By this time i had been offered a beer about six times, politely refusing each time, until i finally cracked, it’s rude to say no right? All of them were so impressed with my Vietnamese that they were almost too friendly. Nearly everything i said they laughed at. Could have been the circumstances, but it felt good. Turns out most of them went to college together, and some of them worked together, except for the oldest one there (30 something) was their boss. After the hot pot, duck, chicken salad and grilled fish i was full, but they kept telling me there’s one more dish. I asked “what could we possibly eat more?” The girl who guided us there began describing the dish, i quickly got lost, she asked me if i understood of which i responded “hieu chet lien” aka “understand die now” or “if i understood i would die,” which as a foreigner it makes people laugh. And we waited further, the dish never came, the waitstaff put all the chairs on top of the tables to sweep, and we left to finally sing. As we were gathering on our motorbikes, i showed off my singing skills with a couple lines from two different vietnamese songs that i know. We arrived and got seated in a V.I.P. room, which in vietnam stands for bigger room, and the singing began. The great thing about karaoke is you can try to sing along even without a microphone. I attempted to sing along with every song they sang, the slow songs i could nail with my eyes closed, but the faster ones, i’d read one word and they’d be on the next verse. Michael and i sang dreams by Fleetwood Mac, and scored an 83 for key and timing, with timing having only one bar highlighted, meaning our timing sucked but the key was spot on. I put it down to my falsetto that’d make stevie nicks shiver. Then i sang gotta get a message to you by the bee gees and that was also spot on. And they loved to dance:
After an hour or so of singing, the electricity got shut off, we waited about five minutes, sang a couple more songs, then called it a night. That’ll be it for today, till tomorrow