Viet Namaste

I was going to write something really good here- full of subtle allusion, improbable swings in register and meaning switchbacking along every sentence to the point where even I don’t know how the paragraphs went like that or what they actually mean, let alone how to possibly attach them to others in the state they are in.

Instead, I will just simply update with no “Hello Cleveland!” wandering about, or having to be blowtorched out of a life-sized plastic egg*.

In the interests of reuse-reduce-recycle, I’m cutting and pasting from an email to a Kiwi friend who’s stuck in Oman with a wife in Vietnam and really never wants to return to life in the Mekong Delta since large numbers of people bought Karaoke amps which they blare out at all hours of day and night. Yet, according to my friend, if you go hunt down the epicenter of all this rather-too-loud Asian EDM, it’s usually just a couple of Vietnamese blokes sat around with their T-shirts hitched up, drinking local whiskey and smoking fags.


Anyway, bringing you up to date with me- not that I expect you to care personally and fair enough- I got offered three jobs within two days of being here and have agreed to one of them.

Here’s where the cut’n’paste bit begins. I believe I’m being a bit more generous than, say William Burroughs, who wouldn’t have told you this is where he just shoved something in at random.

No, he’d have just smoothed the segue over with a transgressive tableu of giant Venusian black centipedes glugging Mugwump jism in Interzone or whatever.

This isn’t Interzone. Saigon. Nam.

(I could do a Martin Sheen smashing the hotel mirror bit here but they have AC units not hypnotic ceiling fans these days)

Landed a job teaching IELTS preparation classes- as ex-examiner, the owner was incredibly keen to have me. Job is on street behind ngyuen ti minh kai (spelt wrong obviously)

not bad. near enough to downtown and to the backpacker.

Bui Vien has changed enormously in 10 months in terms of bars (lots of wide units now with a random name like Donkey but not many customers besides backpackers and- actually- a few well-heeled vietnamese.

2 years ago the alleyway that Hu’ong Vy is on the corner of became THE place due to ‘Le Pub’ and “Le Hooker’ bars- shish not hos- opening to that crowd. most of them are gone now but i guess it picks up weekends.

Burger King have now encroached fully on Bui Vien- 2 stores in the district now. Everybody has simply decided to boycott it. It is empty ALL the time.

The work situation was pretty easy. In a taxi heading from Pattaya on Friday I applied on my phone. 3 strong interest interviews. I sacked off the vietnamese place cos the pay scale was 17-22 (ok, so i have to do a BS demo lesson and you offer me 18-19 with room for improvement) – didn’t get out of bed for that one.

L***** L**** have 20 hours @ 25per hr which is god and they are western owned but its ‘blended learning’ where mainly the teaching would be with a group of 50 high-school drop-outs. 90 minutes. fuck that.

I’m ok to pick up a few hours for a couple of weeks. I have money. the guy is sound, American. Ex-IELTS examiner himself.

Saigon is good and to do this off my own back means it’s on my terms. Thom the school owner (language school) in Bien Hoa is still waiting for me to turn up there so mano a mano after a few beers he will offer me the the DOS position and fire a useless teacher he has. Too bad he hasn’t emailed me this or a contract or anything. His wife is a crazy bitch who wears the trousers anyway and she is apparently a ruthless cunt. 

This also forces Simon’s hand to leave Bien Hoa- he’s bored as fuck there and the school haven’t honoured the contract. I do have my CV in with that school just in case.

Basically- over the last 5 years, the Vietnamese have been totally wisening up between good teachers and good schools and backpacker bums with no qualifications and places seeking to get bums on seats at all costs.

Fucking great, from where I am stood.

Idiot Hello Kitty Teacher was at the Hu’ong Vy last night. Chastened by ending up in the bottom feeding jobs where they try to rip you every pay day, alienated from many after he randomly contacted people’s schools to accuse their teachers of being pedos; possibly a raging pedo himself, frankly- Hello Kitty Teacher, ffs?

Totally broke and on his uppers. He got a load of stuff back out of a year’s storage yesterday, including over 1000 Dexamphetamine pills he was prescribed for being such a cuck up. He offered an entire bottle for 500,000 and I was like ‘yeah! definitely!’

100 pills for 500,000. christ. 

i dont see people giving me shit here this year. last year was just a horrendous fuck up. This year I think will be good.

And if it isn’t, I’ve got about 3 months pharmaceutic speed for $23.







*If I have to explain this reference, you’re probably the wrong demographic, tbh. If so, no worries. Spinal Tap. Great film. And hey, I’m not just writing this for other jilted Gen Xers (though that’s mainly it as I am sometimes astonishingly rude about Boomers- both in person and in writing- and most Millenials don’t read or something).

Hey welcome. There’s a whole cabinet of balms for millenial pain and lack of dark humour here at the Gallery of Grostesquery. Welcome. Whateves. Please poke around the place a bit. Buy the book if you like (only I’m working on a better version so probably leave it a bit, bookmark the site and paddle in from time to time).

I’m writing for an audience as much as myself. If I need catharsis, I find it in other ways. If I just want to moan about life, I ring up my sister. If I’ve done something organised, mainstream and touristy, I wonder what the hell I was doing signing up for it in the first place.

So, not a travel blog even though I have spent twenty years on the road. Not even an autobiographical thing though there are many personal stories here.

Pswchwwghhhs  memoirs. Memoir schmemoir.

And as a writer friend pointed out to me- unless you’re really famous, nobody’s interested in people’s lives anymore. Unless you’ve been on the telly.

But can I point out here, I was in a broadcast of BBC2’s Edinburgh Nights in 1994- I was the vampire being horribly staked on stage.

Only the way they edited it, you could only see my elbow.

And, to be frank, I’m not even sure it was MY elbow.

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