The f*cking expat trap

13 Jan

THE F*CKING EXPAT TRAP  I’ve spent six months in Vietnam and, though I swore I would never do it, I’ve become a stereotypical expat: I’m drinking more beer than ever, going out with friends every single night, swearing more and more, riding motorbikes without a helmet and more than happy to have a cleaner do my chores. These are the reasons many people eventually return to their home countries with bulging bellies, a few scars and longing to move abroad again.

There's nothing better than cracking open a cold "bar bar bar" beer to enjoy on my rooftop.

There are plenty of excuses for this kind of behaviour: filling the void of family and friends, the need to create new social networks, lack of kitchen facilities at home, and the beer’s cheap.

Sometimes I drink because it’s frustrating living in a developing country too, which makes any Australian say “f*ck it, I need a beer”. Try walking on the footpath and being under constant threat of getting run over or abused by motorbikes. Motorbikes are at the bottom of the food chain on the roads in Saigon, but they sure make up for it by ruling the footpaths. Imagine spending a week without speaking to your boyfriend and then you finally arrange a Skype meeting only to race out of the office, into torrential rain, you can’t catch a cab but can’t walk either because your street is flooded and then you finally get home and the power is out so the internet doesn’t work and he’s almost asleep by then anyway. That’s when I have a beer, and I bet my boyfriend does too.

Saigon Barhopping costs just US$5 for five beers at local bars with great people. This photo was taken at last Friday's hop.

There’s always welcoming drinks for new volunteers or friends, farewell drinks, birthday drinks and drinks for an opening of a new venue or exhibition. There’s temptation with promotions like Ladies’ Night at Lush Nightclub on Tuesdays which offers free drinks for women until midnight. There’s Saigon Barhopping which costs just $5 for a whole night of local beers at local pubs with a great mix of new people (thanks to my housemates for creating this brilliant venture). Heck, you can buy a carton of beer for less than $10 and a coconut full of flavoured vodka for just $3, so why the f*ck not!

There’s a website which expats in Saigon love because it sums up these types of experiences, frustrations and f*cking fun. Go to now. Cheers!

By Marissa Toohey


9 Responses to “The f*cking expat trap”

  1. Thomas Wanhoff January 14, 2011 at 7:15 PM #

    I never had this problem in my 2 years I lived in Saigon. But I wasn’t actually looking for the company of expats. Not that some of my friends were not expats, but some were also Vietnamese. And I did what I did back in Germany: Enjoying to stay at home with my wife and my dogs, cooking some nice dinner and watching DVDs. Sounds boring? Nope, wasn’t. And more healthy. Our recipe of not joining this life is to see the country we live in as the place we stay forever – even if we don’t. But it prevents us from thinking this is a fun park.

    • theBubbleBuster January 18, 2011 at 4:12 AM #

      Hi Thomas, I would not say expats treat it like a fun park, unlike many tourists sadly do. But it can certainly become an unhealthy lifestyle, especially for those who aren’t as fortunate as you to have a partner with them.

  2. veryvietnam January 18, 2011 at 4:02 AM #

    F*cking awesome post! was time well wasted. Some of the advice I’d disagree on, but a lot of it is quite true or useful.

    Saigon Barhopping: have you got a link or facebook for them?


    • theBubbleBuster January 18, 2011 at 4:06 AM #

      Thanks! You can access the Saigon Barhopping facebook page by clicking on the photograph in the post, or go to: 🙂

      • Very Vietnam January 18, 2011 at 4:21 AM #

        Thanks Marissa.

        By the way, you should check out Acoustic Bar in Saigon for live music. They’re a small venue but a sure bet for good rock music. I believe Thomas has been there before as well.

      • theBubbleBuster January 18, 2011 at 8:13 PM #

        Thanks VV, I’ve been there many times. It’s one of my favourites too 🙂

  3. Grace Lewis January 21, 2011 at 2:31 PM #

    I’m here with a partner, and I still know exactly what you mean. If we want to be social after dark, the options are really limited – and the happy hours are everywhere. The drinks are cheap, and when it’s as hot as it is here, a drink sure sounds good. Nevermind all the frustrations that can drive you to drink.

    I was a little bummed when I did the barhop that I was drinking 333 (for $5), but I know it’s the social aspect of it that you pay for – and I had a great time.

    • theBubbleBuster January 21, 2011 at 7:57 PM #

      Grace, I agree the hot climate makes a difference and it makes me crave ice in my beer too! Glad you had a good time at bar hopping, despite the 333. I’ve only ever had Saigon Beer during the hops, but I guess it depends which route you jump onto. Maybe I’ll see you at the next one?

  4. love October 30, 2011 at 1:53 PM #

    Your information Helped me Thanks you Much

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