The tour itself was so-so, but I really like hanging out with the other foreigners and finding out what they’re up to. Our tour guide, Phu, was wearing a Longhorns hat. I asked him where he got it and he said, “Texas.” I asked, “Really?” He said, “No. Someone gave it to me.” He didn’t know the Longhorns referred to a university, so I told him that, and also gave him instructions of what to do should he ever see someone wearing a maroon A&M cap. (That’s a joke. Everyone knows Aggies don’t exist outside of Texas.)
Niklas is a German guy at school in Stuttgart who just finished a semester abroad at NUS in Singapore. I realize we look like a couple here, but we’re not! Just short-term travel friends. At some point we were talking about geography and he revealed his rare skill of listing all the states in the US. He learned them as a kid from a puzzle he had. He got to 40 with no problem, then didn’t quite make it to 50. The ones he forgot: Nebraska, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Pennsylvania. Even with some awesome hints he never got Pennsylvania. (“If a vampire bat was in the U.S., it would make sense for it to come to a ‘sylvania.’…”)
The couple in the featured image. I think her name was Katie or Jessica or something like that. She’s from the DC-area and has been in Thailand for 2+ years teaching English. She talked about friends back home who go on about how “lucky” she is and how they wish they could do what she’s doing. Meanwhile, they make more money than her but feel less able to travel for some reason. So much of the world is looking for native English, if someone wants to travel and doesn’t mind teaching, I don’t know why they don’t make it happen like Katie here. Or Jessica.
Frederica and Andy are a German couple also living in Thailand. He does something in finance and she’s in some arm of marketing. Both of them spoke flawless English. She’d spent a year of high school in Great Falls, Montana so she was almost like speaking to another American.
People shuffle. Throughout the 2 days, our group of 30 or so would regularly swap out people; as some were on the 1-day, some on the 2-day and others on the 3-day. Also, I think we acquired people from other tours somehow. It was a little confusing if you weren’t paying attention. Our boat group to Coconut Island had the 3 large, loud Belgians but that was the last we saw of them. (Frederica said when she first saw them, she was afraid they were Germans. It’s funny, when I first saw them, I thought they had to be Americans.)
Andrew the Aussie. When we got back to Can Tho, Frederica, Andy, Niklas and I started hanging out with a 25-year old bearded Aussie guy. Remember Ian in HK, who used to loudly suck/lick his fingertips whenever he was eating or even making tea? (I guess some water would get on his fingers and he’d slurp it off rather than use a napkin or tissue.) Anyway, Andy was eating a sandwich and licking/sucking his fingers quite loudly and I said, “Hey! The only other guy I knew to do that was also Australian!” He said, “To do what?” And I said, “Lick the fingers like that” and I demonstrated. He looked surprised and said, “I didn’t even know I was doing that.” A few minutes later he started picking at his large toenail just like the guy at the Cu Chi tunnels (the third pic here.) It was rather gross and obvious, so I just asked, “What are you doing?” He looked like he didn’t realize he was doing that either.
Is there a cultural thing where Australian men suck/lick their fingertips loudly when they eat, or did I just coincidentally meet two that both do it? I don’t know anyone else who does this. Also, is picking one’s large toenail a thing now?
Click on any picture to enlarge and view as a slideshow.