[Note 5/3/2018: I am still hitching north from Panama but I have now have a story in Mexico I do not want to tell until I leave Mexico, for reasons that will become obvious. Also, I have decided to fly from Mexico City to California to ensure I arrive at a May 12 wedding on time, and to avoid hitching through northern Mexico, which is something Ill come back to, so yes Todo Norte is taking a… leap northward.
For now I will spend my Cinco de Mayo here in Puebla, Mexico (yeah not in this internet cafe), the city whose ancestors won a morale boosting battle on Cinco de Mayo, May 5, 1862 against a better equipped French battalion during the Franco-Mexico war. Anyway, ]
I was the only foreigner on the overnight bus to Vietnam crossing from Laos. The other backpackers went to Hanoi, which unsettled my stomach a bit as a budding young traveler, but also I felt some stoke.
It was a strange bus with reclined S-shaped seat/beds. I was 1 month into my first backpacking trip and feeeling spicy and ready.
Our bus stopped in the early morning at a roadside restaurant and Vietnamese old men showed me how to throw the bones from my soup onto the floor for the dogs
We arrived in Vinh, Vietnam. I ventured into the city, found a hostel, and met a trio of 2 guys and 1 girl. Two Canadians and an Israeli, united by English. I forget their names.
They were loving Asia, having worked or looking for work teaching English (said one Canadian guy: ¨You make money!¨)
So the four of us go out to a restaurant, get a little drunk, and thus it became a night of drinking, and danced on tr street amidst river bridges adorned with dragons. I actually think there were fireworks that night…
Walking along the river there was a hoverboard salesperson. We were visibly drunk, the four of us, but they let us ride. Nearby, we drew our attention to a giant clusterfuck of balloons for sale, and we bought several and tied them to each other.
Then we walked along the river. Somebody suggested skinnydipping in the river. Actually, I know exactly who suggeated it. It was the Israeli guy.
So… okay, Israel and I strip, leave our clothes on the beach for the Canadians to watch (they didn’t want to come), and wade into the water. We chilled for a few minutes in the quiet river and commented occasionally on the stars or the dragon bridges.
After a few minutes, we dragged ourselves back up towards the beach to the spot where we left our clothes. And… we looked around. Our clothes were gone. And so were the Canadians.
I immediately panicked a bit (but assumed it likely that the Canadians were playing a prank). I scanned the boardwalk for nearby police. The beach was mostly empty save for a couple waltzing their way away from us, about 50 meters away… had they seen us naked?
Oh, by the way, Israel was covering his package with the giant child´s balloon that was attached to his wrist.
Ahhhh. Just picture it.
I had no ballon. I covered myself with my hands and retreated back into the water for the several minutes, hiding myself and yet scanning the beach for the Canadians.
I did mention that this occurred in Vinh, which is a city. So… imagine yourself skinny-dipping in the Chicago River at night. Like, surrounded by bars and people. But yes, we had a little beach space for cover.
The Canadians revealed themselves after a few minutes during which I envisioned Vietnamese prison. I wasn´t too afraid of Vietnamese police or law. But I was afraid of how they would view us if they perceived we were gay.