Jen thinks we need to get out more. She claims we’re not “real” backpackers because we: a. don’t frequent enough backpacker bars b. eat at restaurants instead of grabbing street food c. take showers (OK, she didn’t really say the last one—I’m using a little literary embellishment).
I’m the first to admit that partying my way around the world was not my M.O. for the trip. The majority of other travelers hitting the clubs are in the twenty-one to twenty-five age range while most people our age are home climbing the corporate ladder or getting married or having babies. It makes me feel old. Besides, being the only one in our traveling trio in a long-term relationship, I’ve spent many a night out watching the girls snuggle up to some hottie with an accent while I’m left warding off drunken men with, “Sorry, I have a boyfriend.” Fun times.
But to appease Jen, we vowed to start going out more and had happy hour at “beer corner” in Hanoi. We sat in kid-sized plastic chairs drinking 25-cent drafts on a street corner with other travelers. It was here that we met Marco, a thirty-something Italian guy who quit his job at a Tuscan winery to travel, and a cool Chinese girl named Iuni who just finished school. By the time 4 a.m. rolled around, we’d met a dozen more people and kept the party going by dancing on a boat on the Red River. We also scored an invitation to hang out at a French expat’s home tomorrow for wine and cheese.
I think Jen is right: We need to get out more.