I have been living in south east Asia for about two years now. This place is certainly Single Man’s Paradise. I love living out here and my only regret is not making the move ten years ago!
That said, there are some things that get on my fuckin nerves out here. Yes that’s right. It’s not all easy pussy and relaxing under palm trees. I feel it’s my responsibility to point out the negative aspects of life as well as the good stuff. I’m going to share some of these things with you. Please tell me if you relate.
The service at some places is absolutely brutal. In America, waitresses work for tips so they are extra polite and attentive. They are always paying attention and they work hard for their money. If not, they will make shit for money and eventually get fired.
In south east Asia, many small restaurants are family owned. One guy will open a restaurant and hire his kids, nephews and cousins. It doesn’t matter if they are mildly retarded, speak no English and have no experience in that industry.
There is bad service in many countries but some of the experiences I’ve had out here is simply mind blowing. Here’s an example…
The other night I go to a restaurant where I’m a regular. I sit down and the staff completely ignores me… Nobody brings me a menu or takes my order… Some people come in and sit next to me. They are quickly given menus and place their order.
OK maybe the waitress didn’t see me? No big deal. The people who came after me are already eating by the time me and my girl order our food.
Finally my meal comes out. I’m trying to be polite and wait for my girls food to arrive so we can eat together… Waiting… Finally 20 minutes later we ask where is her food and the waitress says she didn’t order food. What the fuck? She ordered Pho Bo. I heard her say it! Why would she come to a restaurant with me to watch me eat alone?
These people want to “save face” so when they make a mistake they will never take responsibility for it. They will insist you made the mistake.
I’ve been given the wrong meal many times and I just go with the flow… You need to have a relaxed, care free attitude to enjoy life out here. I’m laid back and easy going about this stuff but some things make my blood boil…
Like when I order food and it just never arrives. 30 minutes later I ask where is my food? The waitress just laughs in my face “OH SOLLY I FORGET!” What the fuck?! Their job is simple… Write down what I want to eat. Walk over to the kitchen. Hand the chef the paper. That’s it!
But no, she writes down what I want then goes to the kitchen to order herself some noodles… Then plays candy crush on her phone while she eats and ignores me. I swear some of these broads have shit for brains.
South East Asia is Dirty as Fuck
In America, there are these things called garbage cans. When you go out in a public place you will always see one around somewhere. Generally speaking, people put their garbage in the garbage cans.
They have garbage cans in Vietnam as well, but the locals don’t know what they are or what to do with them. When Vietnamese people party on the beach they will eat, drink then leave everything there. Eventually government workers will walk up and down sweeping the streets and beaches. Still, I have to look at your filth until the little people in orange come by each evening with their brooms.
Also, Vietnamese people will piss, snot and spit anywhere. It’s disgusting. If you are outside in a crowded area a Vietnamese guy will just walk up to the wall of a building and piss on it… This is in the middle of the afternoon with crowds of people around. Dude, find a bush or go around the back of the building. Nobody wants to see your little cock pissing all over the place.
In Vietnam, people throw all of their trash on the side of the street and at night it’s swept up. I’d imagine putting trash cans every 50 yards would keep the street cleaner and more sanitary but what do I know.
Since the street is the local trash can, put throw everything there. Food and trash rots on the side of the road until it’s eaten by a Soi dog or swept up every evening. There’s also enormous rats and cock roaches everywhere. I’m used to this after living in Bangkok for a year but it’s still fuckin disgusting.
Just last night I was eating at a restaurant and a huge cock roach landed on my neck. It was on my neck but under my collar and I went crazy trying to get the thing out of there. Nasty shit. I was tempted to kick the table over and walk out of there but I kept my cool. No doubt, all the trash laying around attracts these rodents. Get used to eating noodles outside while huge rats scamper past your feet.
Ladies will pull their babies pants down and let them piss in the street. Watch where you walk people, some little Viet kid might piss on your leg if you’re not looking. If you walk down the sidewalk sometimes you will be hit with flying garbage that a local business is throwing out into the street. Sometimes they are sweeping shit into the street and they wont stop to let you walk by.
Crime / Scams
Another thing that gets tiring is petty crime and scams. There’s crime in every country but stealing is the national sport in Vietnam. I’ve witnessed it many times with my own eyes. Guys will slowly cruise around the tourist area with another guy on the back of the bike. One drives, the other snatches bags.
If you are carrying a bag, ALWAYS be looking around. Keep your head on a swivel. These motorbike thieves will quietly ride down a sidewalk and you won’t even see them coming up behind you. Some use a blade to cut the strap of your bag. One girl almost got her arm cut off by some thief trying to slice her purse strap. These people are animals.
I’ve been pic pocketed and burglarized out here and I’m sick of it. If I ever catch some little monkey in my apartment I’m going to give him a free flight off the balcony.
Just today I was eating lunch at a small street food stall. Three Vietnamese guys ate their lunch then jumped onto a motorbike and sped off without paying. The owner ran out into the street yelling at them as they quickly disappeared into the traffic.
Really? You scumbags don’t have the money to pay for $5 worth of food? This poor lady stands out there cooking for 12 hours everyday and you’re going to rob her? What if that was your mother?
I can’t stand people who think it’s OK to rob some hard working innocent person. People with this mentality should be shot dead like a rabid dog.
Thieves have no respect for their own people and for foreigners it’s even worse. If you are white, people automatically assume you have money. If you are clean cut and well dressed you might as well tape hundred dollar bills to your forehead because that’s what the locals see.
Everywhere you go people will bother you. Hello my friend! Motorbike, lady, boom boom, marijuana, cocaine, buy cigarettes, buy sunglasses, where you going? What are you looking for? Want to buy something?
This shit gets tiring after a while. It’s less intense when you leave the tourist trap but even then you will be over charged. In Vietnam especially, the double pricing is crazy. Everything for locals is much cheaper and even if I know the local price they won’t budge… Maybe I’m a bad negotiator but they would rather lose the sale then to charge me the local price. Makes me fuckin mental!
Customer service is a concept very few people understand. In business I was taught early on to keep customers happy and they will come back. They will spend money again tomorrow and then the next day. In Vietnam, they would rather over charge and squeeze every last buck out of you until you leave pissed off and never return. I have so many examples of this.
I recently needed an iPhone charger. I negotiated the price with the lady and paid. She handed me just the cord… I said what about the god damn wall plug? She says ohh no that’s extra! WHAT THE FUCK I just told you I need a full iPhone charger not just the cord. But no, she’s going to milk me for that extra $2. Unreal.
I’m an Outsider
No matter how long you stay in any of these countries you will always be an outsider. The rules will always be different for foreigners. Want to own a business or own real estate? You will have to jump through flaming hoops of barb wire. A shit load of regulations, restrictions, corruption and bribes are there to slow you down at every step.
America is a melting pot of ethnicities. Of course there is racism and prejudices but for the most part everyone is treated equal. I went to school with kids from Vietnam, Korea, China, India, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.
If you move to America, learn English and get a job then you’re American. That’s it. Same laws, same prices charged for everything. That’s how things work in a 1st world country.
I love living in Asia but the fact is doing any kind of business or investing here will always be more difficult then in my home country. I can’t vote, I can’t own firearms and I have no constitutional rights here. If a cop stops me and wants to give me a random drug test, I do it. I can’t tell him to fuck off and call my attorney.
Even people who are successful and run businesses in Asia feel vulnerable. They are always worried that powerful locals will start to resent foreigners having a successful enterprise on their turf. That’s a whole other topic but if you are brave enough to do business on a local level in a developing country here’s my advice…
Stay low key, quiet, humble and well liked. Don’t flash your cash. Always appear to be struggling. Don’t build anything you aren’t willing to walk away from. You will never truly be powerful in these countries. All it takes to lose your business is one local with powerful friends to make your life difficult.
OK time to wrap up this long rambling post.. Yeah yeah I know what you’re thinking… Quit bitching! You live in paradise! That’s true and I’ve never been happier.
Just letting you guys know about the other side of life in paradise. If you want to live in south east Asia long term these are some of the negative aspects of life you have to deal with. Cheers!