Day 11: Saigon Swan Song


Joe’s Dream

“I had a dream about Speedman. We were all playing some sport. Shuttlecock hackey sack or something and. and we were near a black Mustang from the 70s. There was this other guy there who like ran a podcast for sound cloud rappers and he had his boys with him and they were trashing the mustang and then Speedman came out and it was his car and I asked him why those guys were trashing his car and Speedman was like, ‘I don’t know.’ But he had a motorcycle too and he just rode away. And I was like, ‘hey why are you trashing his car?’ and they were like. ‘fuck that guy.’ I said ‘he’s actually really nice. He gets to have a cool car if he wants’ and they were like, ‘oh yeah. You’re right'”


The road is long, dear friends, and as the sun rose on our final day in Vietnam, we were pretty happy hiding from it. With no real plans and dwindling enthusiasm for scooter dodging, we were in no hurry to leave the hotel. So with the curtains drawn and the K-pop blaring, perhaps it’s time we looked in. Time we leaned into the mirror and traced the lines that years, pain, and lack of a decent moisturizer have scored into our faces. Time we washed our hands of the emotional and physical grime that one accumulates in this ceaseless pursuit of money and status, and ponder the murk as it slowly drains away. On second thought, maybe it’s time to talk about this thing.


This thing is the way. When we first saw it in our hotel in Hanoi I said to Joe, “See that thing? I’m pretty sure it’s a butt washer.”

“I don’t know.” He said.

“Pretty sure it’s a butt washer.”

It is indeed a butt washer, otherwise known as a bidet sprayer, or bum gun, and it’s used here and in other parts of Asia to ease the pressure on delicate plumbing systems.

Like anybody who has spent their entire life doing something the wrong way I was reluctant to admit my mistakes, but eventually curiosity won out and I decided to give it my best shot.

It’s a little tricky at first. Getting the angle of the spray, and your body position right takes a little practice but before long I was hosing with the best of them. The first half dozen times I felt it necessary to give an exploratory wipe at the end, but after coming up clean four times in a row, I left toilet paper behind forever. Be careful when you do this, make sure you have a nice clean fold with no fewer than 5 sheets, and dab, don’t wipe. Thin, wet TP does tend to fragment.

Joe’s baptism was a little rockier.

His first attempt resulted in a pretty wet toilet seat. “No big deal,” I told him, “just adjust your alignment a little bit.” He didn’t seem convinced.

His second attempt wouldn’t come until days later after much cheerleading by me. This one was even worse, as he somehow managed to get his underwear wet.

“Maybe we just have different pooping styles.” He offered.

He could be right. Or our buttholes could be in radically different positions, Joe’s disadvantageous for butt hose targeting. Honestly I won’t know until I can get in there and provide some blunt, field-level coaching, and this he refuses to allow.

“I think it’s more about a lean. A lean and a tilt during hose procedure.”

“Ok.” He said.

“Don’t give up hope.”


Joe tried the butt hose again today, this time removing his underwear completely and placing them out of the way before commencement, an innovative solution that I applauded, and while I think he’s making progress I don’t know if he’ll ever be a true convert. I still hear him in there, toilet paper roll rumbling away, like a man in a log rolling contest., running as fast as he can and going nowhere.


We did leave the hotel eventually. We walked the short distance to a market and continued our search for Abibas sneakers. Joe haggled with a shop vendor which was pretty fun to listen to, and attempted to share his love of textiles with me.

I don’t get it

The main thing we did today, if you can call it that, was get bahn mi’s. Like, the famous banh mi’s. We started at this place.


This was one of the longest lines for anything we saw while in Vietnam. People were stoked to be here. They were walking out of this place with bags of 15, 20 sandwiches.

Bloggers be bloggin’

It was a damn fine bahn mi. It had the most meat of any sandwich we’d tried and it presented new flavors with every bite.

Vietnamese done right

We sat in the park by our hotel and ate them in silence under the gaze of a statue.

Two hours later we were back at it.

Saigon food party people

The thing with this place is that it takes the little sausage patties from bun cha and puts them in the sandwich. Fucking brilliant.

These were outrageously good

After the second sandwich we wandered, forcing ourselves to stay out. We were looking for a cafe to just sit in and people watch. The Vietnamese LOVE a cafe. That’s what they do at night, sit at cafes, so we didn’t think it’d be that hard to find but we couldn’t find one with any energy.

Then we got very scared by the shadow of a leaf. We’d already had an encounter with some rats that put Joe in a weird head space. We were walking down a dark sidewalk and a bunch of rats crossed in front of us. It was probably like three rats, but they crossed our path at different times so it gave the impression that there were a lot of rats. We could hear them squeaking from the bushes. I think it was the squeaking more than anything that disturbed him. It reminded us that a whole society of rats exists just beyond view. Only hidden by their own secretive nature and if the day ever comes when they decide that they’d like to come out into the light, it’s going to be a creepy new world. The leaf shadow brought us right back there. It moved strangely, for a rat, but it was the shadow of a leaf so it was moving normally. It freaked us both out.

We made it to a place called Acoustic. A music venue with the slogan, “Emotion Talks.” The act that night was a house band and a rotating cast of lead singers. The singers would come out, do three or four American top 40 songs, and then call the next singer up on stage. They were all very good but the band was the real treat. Ages ranging from early 20’s to 40’s, they held it down all night.

These guys can wail

After the bar we went home and went to sleep. I’m just kidding we went back to Jammin and played more darts. We also bought shirts.

Inevitable really

THEN we went home and went to sleep.

Tied 5-5

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