HCMC Dining Guide

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Appetite for Destruction

In the weeks since the end of the bike ride I've developed a pronounced love-hate relationship with my body, taking good care of myself by eating (fairly) well and going on a few bike rides per week in addition to playing dodgeball on Wednesday nights and throwing in the occasional run and rock-climbing session; only to completely abuse myself through alcohol and huge amounts of food a few nights per week. Since I now have every afternoon and evening off, in addition to weekends, I find it difficult to say no when people ask me to go out, even when I know I shouldn't, either for the health of my wallet or my liver.

Take this past Monday and Tuesday, for example. Monday afternoon a couple friends invited me to go to my favorite pool, so I did. We ended up having a few beers and then headed to the happy hour at Bar 5 on Pasteur, which offers the absurdly dangerous deal of all-you-can-drink beer for 100,000 dong ($5) from 3-7pm every day. After taking full advantage of that for 90 minutes we went to my friend Phong's house for further drinking without even eating dinner. After hanging out for a while we piled into a taxi for late-night dim sum (hence the previous post) before finally passing out.

I didn't drink as much the following day, but I did end up pissing away pretty much all of the money on me. Those of us that are left from H2H have made it a tradition to go to ladies night at Lush, one of the city's most popular nightclubs, every Tuesday. Since it's expensive for guys to drink there we pregamed a bit and then paid the 100,000 dong cover charge. Two drinks later, combined with a visit to a new bar called Freak, left me with just enough to cover the taxi ride home. Oops.

I made sure to take a night off the following night since I physically just can't do three big ones in a row, but as I've already said this is developing into a vicious cycle that I'm struggling to break. In 19 months in Saigon I've had more nights in which I've stayed out until 3 or 4 in the morning stumbling around the city than I did in four years of college. The problem is that I like being social, and sadly the main way to do that in Saigon is through drinking. There is little in the way of culture to enjoy once the sun sets: the museums are terrible and close in the afternoon anyway; the live music scene consists of little other than indistinguishable cover bands (though there are some exceptions to that); most of the English-language movies we get are either mindless action movies or repulsive chick flicks ('The Hunger Games' and 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' were both banned from release here. Thanks a lot, fun police.); and there are minimal professional sporting events to go to. Essentially the options are either stay at home, or go out and spend money on food and booze.

Now before you criticize me and my fellow expats for being lazy drunkards, know that the locals aren't really that different. Since few Vietnamese woman drink they don't go to the bars, instead wasting hours away in cafes in coffee shops. Many men, on the other hand, spend nights either sitting around getting hammered with their friends, or playing Chinese checkers on the sidewalk.

All of this means that I doubt I'll break out of this routine anytime soon. I have friends that have weekends off, and friends that have weekday mornings off, so I could theoretically go out every day of the week, if I were so inclined. I can't party that hard, but there is little keeping me from spending a night on the town three or four times a week. Thank god for the exercise, otherwise I'd be putting on some serious weight. Now where's my beer?

No comments:

Post a Comment