My favorite part of this trip so far is all the awesome people we have met. The locals who have shown us around have been incredibly hospitable and helpful, and the other travelers have been fascinating and adventurous people who quickly become friends.
Sometimes, though, we run into people we aren’t so excited about. Enter: snarky Lisa.
In the ungodly early morning hours in Rach Gia, Matt, Amy (an ultimate player friend from back home who was joining us for a bit) and I had had a very abrupt awakening, just disembarked from a shuttle bus and were on the hunt for the ferry that would take us to Phu Quoc island. As we were wandering around, a British couple pulls up to us on a pair of xe om (motorcycle taxis). They ask us about the ferry, and Matt helpfully shares some information with them, and we start to walk off on our own.
“Wait for us.” the guy orders.
This rubbed me the wrong way. You can always ask to join us, but don’t demand things from people you’ve only just met. Irritated (4:30am Lisa gets up on the pissed off side of the bed), I said to Matt and Amy, “Let’s go.”
Matt, ever the optimist, says, “We’ll walk with these guys; they’re looking for the same ferry.” Matt being the less evil of our pair, I decide that he’s right, and we should give these travelers another shot.
As we waited, I watched the woman fuss around in her bag for a little bit, and then the guy yelled something at her and gave her and the bag a bit of a shove. Red flag: the guy is a douche. He’s already back on my shit list.
We started walking down the dark road, and within a minute, I’ve already judged the woman as an imbecile as well and am regretting my choice to trust Matt from a moment earlier. I know, I know. Don’t judge a book by the cover. But this book was a ginger, and everyone knows they have no souls (sorry, Stegs). I didn’t actually know she was a ginger (it was dark out), but it was one of the many facts she had told us about herself in that first minute.
There are few things that annoy me more than people who constantly complain. But people who are unable to be silent for any span of time and must fill every second with chatter are high on the list. People who only talk about themselves are not tolerated. Know-it-alls and kiss-asses will not win any points. This woman was all of those things in a ginger-topped package. I was becoming increasingly rageful being around her.
In our short walk from one ferry office to another, this woman managed to complain about how much she hated the sleeper bus and that the buses in Laos and Cambodia are nicer, that Vietnamese people burn trash in the street, how the people at the ferry office didn’t speak English, how hard she imagined her life to be, how “all” the old Vietnamese men were creepy and loved her, and a variety of other things. Not once did she ask about our group or our travels (or even our names). To her credit, she did try to compliment me on my pronunciation of the Vietnamese bus carrier we had arrived on, but I had just spent 30 days being chided for how bad my “Vietnamese” is, and I have no doubt this woman couldn’t tell one Vietnamese tone from the next.
Bitch, please. If you are traveling around Vietnam (especially to Phu Quoc, a higher-end destination in Vietnam), Laos, and Cambodia as a tourist, your life is not that hard.
You didn’t like that sleeper bus? Newsflash: no one does! Try taking a public bus. For 25 hours. ”I love how they just burn trash in the street in Vietnam.” They do that all over the developing world, not just Vietnam. You don’t like how they don’t speak English? I don’t like how you expect everyone to speak your language, you arrogant, entitled prick.
By the way, my name is Lisa. And I hate you. My Vietnamese pronunciation is shit; don’t try to suck up to me about something you have no expertise in.
Amy was still trying to be nice to this woman, but I was mostly trying (and occasionally failing) to hold my tongue. Matt had wandered down the street a ways to make some calls and figure out how to get us away from this couple. He came back and sat down on the steps with me, gave me a look, and without moving his mouth at all, quietly said, “I don’t like these people. Let’s get out of here.”
Matt’s the best. And I’m glad that both of us immediately had the same reaction to these people. It makes me feel slightly less judgmental.
The woman finally paused in her soliloquy to go to the restroom, and her male companion had disappeared down the road somewhere. We tried to use this chance to grab our bags and run, but we weren’t quick enough. Just as we had gotten up, the guy returned. He mentioned that he had found the ferry terminal and that we would be waiting around for at least two hours. Oh boy.
Matt made a valiant effort at getting us away: “Ok, we’re gonna go check out the terminal. We’ll see you later.” Unfortunately, as he said this, the ginger she-devil returned and chirped, “Ooh, where are we going?”
We slowly amble towards the terminal, snarkily heckling this couple under our breaths. We attempt to dismiss them a few more times, dropping obvious hints that we intend to separate from them, but this couple was either oblivious or at the point where they hated each other so much that they had locked on to us simply so that they wouldn’t have to be alone together any more. We stood around awkwardly in the terminal, scheming. Finally, we floated an idea.
Us: ”We should probably get food.”
Them: “Yeah, let’s do that.”
<we walk so slowly and aimlessly that they have to take the lead>
As soon as they started off, we bolted in the other direction. The look on Matt’s face as he quickly backed away was that of someone witnessing a horrifying car accident.
We sat around for half an hour at the ferry terminal hoping that this couple would get far enough away from us that we wouldn’t encounter them again. But it seems that they had parked themselves at the closest restaurant, and we awkwardly sat down on the other side of the seating area and attempted to avoid any further eye contact. Even more awkwardly, Amy and I had to grab the menu from them. Fortunately, we never saw them again either on the ferry or on Phu Quoc.
the drunk san franciscan
One afternoon, we found ourselves back in Manila between our trip down south to Palawan and up north to Banaue. With hours to kill, we wandered back to our hostel and camped out to use the wifi and stay cool in the air-conditioning.
While we were there, we encountered an American whose name I don’t recall. We have actually been quite surprised to find how few Americans are traveling through Southeast Asia, so we usually get excited when we meet fellow yankees. Unfortunately, he is one of the people I wish I hadn’t met on this trip.
My first introduction to him was him blasting a summary of the “Top 10 moments of Breaking Bad” from his iPad. I don’t care what you’re watching or listening to, but when you’re in a common area, use your headphones or take other people into consideration! One guy left the room so that he wouldn’t have to hear the spoilers.
I recognize this guy’s accent as being American, so I ask him where he’s from. “San Francisco! How about you?”
“Oh, yeah. I’d leave that place, too, if I lived there.”
Wait, what? I thought this must be a joke. But then he elaborated.
“All the shootings and stuff! It must be a terrible place to live.”
“Um, no. I love living in Colorado.”
Alright. I was done talking to this jackass. Unfortunately, he wasn’t done talking to the room at large. He was the type of person who liked to throw out little hints of things to try to get people to ask him more questions about himself which irritates me beyond belief. If you have something to say, just say it!
We quickly came to learn that he’s only in Manila for less than a day — he was on a mileage run to make sure he got 10k status on United, a fact he repeated multiple times, just in case anyone hadn’t heard it the first time.
He was only interested in drinking and partying while in Manila, as witnessed by the large beer in hand at 2pm. And, even after someone said that he didn’t want to hear about Breaking Bad because he hadn’t seen the last season yet, this guy couldn’t stop himself from loudly babbling about the show. Matt and I were sitting on opposite sides of the common room, and we couldn’t stop texting snarky messages to each other.
Really, the only really terrible thing about this guy was that he insulted my home state, which I love. But that’s more than enough to put him on my most hated list.