I'm figuring since I will be without a constant internet source while traveling around the world for 4 or so months this will be the easiest way to update/show I am alive. Enjoy
My Vietnamese Gramma, or Baaaa as I like to call her, enjoying her first burrito….which she later wrapped in rice paper and ate with chopsticks. She is mildly crazy, defintely amazing, and loves to slap my ass. Cultural norms you are a wiley devil.
P.S. I have failed to mention that my Vietnamese family thought my name was Stephen (pronounced Stef-in) and I was too embarassed to correct them. I literally laugh out loud now everytime they mention my “name”

My Vietnamese Gramma, or Baaaa as I like to call her, enjoying her first burrito….which she later wrapped in rice paper and ate with chopsticks. She is mildly crazy, defintely amazing, and loves to slap my ass. Cultural norms you are a wiley devil.

P.S. I have failed to mention that my Vietnamese family thought my name was Stephen (pronounced Stef-in) and I was too embarassed to correct them. I literally laugh out loud now everytime they mention my “name”


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The Broken Shower Episode

Jesus christmas my Vietnamese family is hospitable. This weekend was was a mini-vacation for the Vietnamese people, a day-night double header of sorts consisting of the May Day and Reunification Day, which is the day the Americans got the heck up out of here. With some time off my family took us to the beach about 3 hours away for a little rest and relaxation. And did we ever rest and relax. We wined, killing bottles of Vietnamese wine, Hennesey, and some cans of halida beer. We dined, bottomless clams, octopus, SHARK FIN, shrimp, various fish, some crab legs, unknown shellfish, and the usual noodle soup and rice as well. And we slept on real beds. One of the best moments occured when our family took us to the last king of vietnam’s house on a hilltop and we took the white-trashiest photos while wearing the kings robe and crown. I have never felt more gringo-ish and loved it in my life.

The only hiccup in the beautiful weekend occured when my roommate Max, who at 6 foot 2, is slightly taller and therefor heavier, than your average Vietnamese person informed me that while showering he felt the bottom of the shower crack a bit. Thinking nothing of it I stepped into the shower and proceeded to fall through the floor about 6 inches. Luckily I didn’t get cut but there was the minor issue of explaining the incident to our family and the frontdesk. I felt like I was Chevy Chase in the new movie Vietnam Vacation (which would actually be hilarious by the way). An hour of negotiations concluded with our family not having to pay and us not threatening the hotel. Thankfully it all ended lovely and we enjoyed a guilt free car ride home by popping in my new treat of choice green bean cakes, what ever the hell they are.

Time is flying by here and coming home is on the horizon. I have no doubt that the homestretch final two weeks will be a blast and I will definetly add a few more stories to the ridiculous cannon I have already accumulated on this trip.

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Crossing Things off my Life’s to-do List

GET MASSAGE FROM BLIND VIETNAMESE MAN

URINATE IN ONE OF THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE NATURAL WORLD

So a personally crummy week with the flu was capped by two of the more memorable experiences yet on this trip. Last weekened we went to Ha Long Bay, one of the seven wonder’s of the natural world, that was absolutely stunning but a bit overrun by tourism. A group of us still had a blast jumping of the third deck of the junk boat, swimming around the bay, and exploring a few caves. During the week I was incapacitated with a 103 degree fever but after some antibiotics and Chinese traditional medicine I am feeling much better. Last night was one of the stranger and most relaxing experiences of my life as two blind men walked into our house (I literally watched the “blind leading the blind”) and gave me and my host mom the most intense massage/spine correcting hours ever. My homie Zwi twisted and turned my limbs for a whopping 2 bucks and I awoke today like a new man.

With only a few weeks remaining its starting to set in that we are closing in on the home stretch. I look forward to living up the remaining days and reporting back to yall ASAP. Oh and post if you want me to purchase anything for you in the ancient quarter where I will be buying a pair of shoes for 3 bucks….. Until next time

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MOTOBIKE MADNESS-this is every single street in hanoi

MOTOBIKE MADNESS-this is every single street in hanoi


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"Wine Tour Aftermath"- A Polaroid by Kate Sokol

"Wine Tour Aftermath"- A Polaroid by Kate Sokol


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old pic of me and my langa host family, the sweetest ladies in town

old pic of me and my langa host family, the sweetest ladies in town


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I have a Koi Pond in My House

Chao em everybody, I am going to go out there and say it… Hanoi may be the coolest place in the world! I know, I know, you might say “But Dave you have only been there a few days, but Dave you have never been to Europe, but Dave they eat dogs…..” Well yes all of these things may be true, but I stand by my claims. Where else is crossing the street more energizing than a cup of Folgers, where else can you live in a 5 story home with a koi pond in it, where else can you get a pair of enormous PRESCRIPTION glasses MADE for under 15 bucks, where else can you drink booze out of a 4 foot jar with 6 dead iguana things in it, where else can you, with the help of armed military, help a 93 year old woman carry her keg into her shop when its time to close down, and lastly where else do foot massages come for less than a Happy meal??? Hanoi you are truly one of a kind. My homestay fam is once again amazing, they bought us booze, dried fruit, and gave us a laptop to use. Hospitality of another level. All in all, loving life and I cannot wait to learn more about this place. See yall in a month where I will be more knowledgable of the world and infintely more hairy (No Shave Nam).

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Good Morning Vietnam

Well after more than 30 hours of travel with a pit stop in Malaysia, we arrived safe as Rickey Henderson in the beautiful land of Vietnam. I have never felt like more of a foreignor walking around and I absolutely love it. Crossing the street is like living a game of Frogger, where you are the green amphibian and the river is played by an endless stream of honking but careful motorbikes. Every street looks like a marketplace, selling items for less than you can buy them out of the back of a truck in Plainfield. I managed to spend a remarkable 1 ducket on lunch, 3 bucks for a haircut (really really fun to get done when you cannot speak the language), and found a bia hoi (draught beer) place that was literally a sweet old lady with a keg at the end of an alleyway. The streets were filled with drinkers sitting on “fisher price” sized stools enjoying beer at sub-10 cents a mug-full. A few beers in me and my buddies Avery and Mike (put a 6’6” man on those stools and try not to laugh) were joined by an older man who had pulled over his cyclo. A few toasts of the glasses in and he was telling us of how he had fought in the war and passing around his tin of tobacco for us to put in a 2 foot wooden pipe. A night and a dream fulfilled.

Woke for a lovely jog around the central little lake in the mist of the morning and am ready to take on the Old Quarter! Until next time…

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REWIND

Well hidey hoe strangers, its your estranged son/brother/grandson/friend posting from his final hours in Cape Town. Okay so after my brief stint in the beautiful Malay quarter known as the Bo-Kaap we moved on to our second host family in Langa, a township designated for black communities during apartheid. What the years of economic hold back took away from the township in roadways, homes, plumbing, and conveniences it made up for in the kindness of its people. My homestay included a 19 year old who ran a church youth group, an overworked mother, and a grandmother Ivy who at 78 read four newspapers a day in three languages, could best me in a convo on movies, and could clearly stump the crap out the Schwab in soccer/rugby/cricket knowledge (which I now understand like the back of my 4.5 fingered hand). Considering she lacked a proper education she was one of the most astounding people I have ever met. Even with how tough they were living they treated me like a king and I am super grateful for it. She made me promise that one day I would fly her to “the states” so she could be the Juanita to my Billy Madison.

Oh and Xhosa is freaking awesome, it involves all the sweet clicks and is essentially creating a community of sick beatboxers.

Post that, I have been on spring break which included staging Real World South Africa on the Western Coast with 12 other peeps in a Penelope Cruz beautiful beach house. One epic wine tour through four vineyards, endless African dancing to Tsotsi beats (I will show everyone when I get home), one ridiculously colorful Zulu-inspired shirt, homemade grub that would make Emeril Lagasse drop a few “Bams,” some apron-only dish washing, a few lovely books, and a 30 foot snooker table and a new definition of “Living the Dream” was created. Obscene polaroids will soon make the facebook rounds. So until I reach the land of motorbikes, a bid yall adou.

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Just a Day at the Beach

Ok so it is pretty damn difficult to update my blog in Cape Town but that is mostly because I am out day and night having the funnest goddamn time. I ate some zebra and giant antelope yesterday while sipping on some delightful wine and a drink called Dave’s nose (essentially a mojito with some apple sours in it) in a piazza under the stars. Wowzers. This city is starting to bowl me over with delight and is a place i could defffffinetly imagine living in. Between the beach, the nightlife, and the food, there is never a dull moment.

In terms of my host family here in C Town I am living with a muslim family in the Bo Kaap neighborhood (mostly Islamic Malaysians) and my house is bright teal….sick. They are absolutely amazing and have taught me new card games, taking me rock jumping, fed me unlimited curry, and explained cricket to me. They are really inviting and amazing. So far 3 for 3 on amazing host families.

Oh and I just bought a frequent user card for an internet cafe so I promise more updates coming soon, including pics. Talk to yall soon.

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