Drunken Irish Guy Abroad – Best Facebook statuses

For my fellow Irish buddies and those who love Irish stereotypes (we’ll do anything for the craic), I am dedicating this blog to a fine young Irish chap I met some years ago when I was teaching English in Korea. I forget exactly how we met but I remember on Sundays I would see him in Irish pubs trying to stay awake as he tried to balance on a stool after a weekend of drinking that had started on Friday evening and in which he hadn’t been home once. Although I only stayed a year in Korea his Facebook statuses have kept me entertained for years as he travels around the globe getting into all sorts of trouble and recounting his experiences with good humour and now I’m here to share them with you!! A dedication of some of my favourites statuses from my good friend Conor from Monaghan.

  1. One of my favourites about Conor’s time stranded in China

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2. Conor reminiscing about life in Korea with his students

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3. Stylish

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4. Good old St. Brigid

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5. We’re curious too…

 

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6. OK!!

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7. I believe it!!

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8. Conor’s trip to Budapest

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9. Two separate drunken stories about trench coats

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10. Booking out a dorm in Hanoi and the madness that ensues with a Fin

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Simplified Minion travel guide to Hoi An, Vietnam

I was like what – we’re going to Vietnam? That is sweeeeeeet. YOLO. We hit a few spots and it was chill, but my favourite was HOI AN.

Before going to Vietnam

Well make sure you’re passports not expired – duh. I hope you’re looking as glowing as me in your passport photo.

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And get your visa in advance from the Embassy in your country at least a week in advance (set me back 50euro) – there should also be an express option if you want it a bit quicker.

You can also order a visa online and collect it in the airport in Vietnam. But if you’re coming from far far away land you will feel pretty smug cruising through emigration while those other suckers who ordered online are waiting for their visa and you get to go earlier to your hostel to sleep after your 15 hour flight (or party minion style)!

How to get to Hoi An

First, if you’re coming from abroad to Vietnam you should fly to either Hanoi or Saigon Airport (check on skyscanner for the best deals). I, myself, flew with Emirates because I like their inflight entertainment – the Minions obviously.

Getting there from wherever you are in Vietnam is cheeeaaaap. I took an overnight bus from Nha Trang – which is already a twelve hour bus ride from Saigon in the south (Vietnamese overnight buses are actually pretty comfortable and you also save on one night’s accommodation- score) for approximately 13 dollars and then arrived in the early morning.  Internal flights are also inexpensive if you need to save on time. Check again on skyscanner for that.

What to eat

Restaurant wise try out Phuong (some famous guy called Anthony Bourdain – never heard of him either – ate banh mi here and he said it was A-OK). I thought it was reasonable.

You should definitely drink Bubble tea – that’s right – BUBBLES!! Bubble tea is delicious and filled with all different flavours of jelly.

Eat some Pho (prounounced puh) – speciality Vietnamese soup

Cao Lau is Hoi An’s exclusive noodle dish made with noodles, pork and greens.

 

Where to go

The beach – There’s a chill little beach that you can cycle to from the town. There’s not a whole lot happening, but it’s pretty so is nice for a walk, a swim and there’s some nice little restaurants beside it.

Markets – go shopping. The big thing in Hoi An is to get clothes tailored and you will see places everywhere for that. Being a minion I rarely have problems finding clothes in my size so I gave it a miss.

Old town – Just walking around the Old Town is pretty friggin’ awesome! You can buy just about anything you want from teapots to hats to…drugs (but don’t buy drugs!) There are loads of cute little temples to visit in the old town too.

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Excursions – possible to also visit the famous temples in My Son and  the Marble Mountains in Da Nang (both about an hour away from Hoi An so best to take a taxi!)

Where I stayed

Little Leo Homestay for 7euro a night (dorms). It was nicee, I had some sweet dreams and there was free bicycle rentals, breakfast included, and they also serve some pretty tasty Vietnamese cold coffee with milk.

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How to avoid locals harassing you to get you to buy stuff

As the locals depend on tourists for their money, it’s not easy to avoid being ‘harrassed’ for your moola!! Being a minion I have figured out that the best way to avoid people harassing you is to SMILE and be yellow. People will be overcome by your cuteness and forget they were trying to sell you things.  However, no tactic is full proof in Hoi An as some of the sellers are super persuasive – this woman forced me to buy bananas as three times the going rate!

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Well that was a pretty smokin’ trip!! I’d recommend Hoi An to minions and humans alike.

You should go to Myanmar

You should go to Myanmar. You should really go for three weeks to a month in order to make the most of it.

You should organise your visa well in advance as there is no option to receive a visa on arrival. You should be able to find flights from your home destination but if not you can fly somewhere else in Asia such as Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur and take an AirAsia flight from there which is often the cheapest option.

You should arrive in Yangon what was until a few years ago the capital city (formerly known as Rangoon). You’ll feel a bit like you’ve gone back in time. You should try and take a peek at the house where Aung San Suu Kyi spent years under house arrest for her people. You should also definitely go to the ‘Schwedagon Pagoda’.

While you’re travelling throughout the country you should be reading ‘Burmese Days’. Get lost in Orwell’s novel set in the 1920s which tells the tale of British relations with the Burmese during colonial times. Orwell himself who is most famous for his novels ‘1984’ and ‘Animal Farm’ spent five years in Burma as a police officer and through his well written humourous at times tale captures the very essence of life at that time and the relationship between the British and the natives through a page turning story of love, friendship and treachery.

You should do the touristy thing. Go to Bagan and spend a day cycling through the temples (other options include being transported by horse and cart). Be impressed by temples that are as amazing as those in Angkok Wat but more authentic given the fact that they are twenty times less crowded.

You should visit Lake Inle too. Pay for a little boat trip on the river and be impressed by the charming houses of wood and woven bamboo on stilts that you pass. You should also visit the Inle Lake Nga Phe Kyaung jumping cat monastery for the fun. In the guide book the cats have been given a super reputation as trained cats that jump through hoops but the reality is that they are quite fat and lazy given that each time they jump through they are rewarded with food. Still you should get to catch them doing a little trick.

You should take the train from Yangon to Mandalay. Check out the Shwenandaw Monastery there and take a peek at the monks doing their daily rituals and chants.

You should go to Hsipaw just above Mandalay and go trekking. You can also check out the waterfall there.

You should take a boat trip from Mandalay along the river Irawaddy and take in the breathtaking views along the way.You have the option to stop at a few towns that the boat stops at including the town where Orwell spent a few years serving for the British.

You should continue up north to Bhamo, the last stop on the river from Mandalay (taking a total of two days and two nights to get there non stop). Stay at the ‘Friendship Hotel’ the most charming budget hotel I’ve ever stayed in with its magical all you can eat buffet breakfast and charming staff and take a tour of this charming little village by bicycle.

You shouldn’t be surprised if the transport is slow. Maybe your boat will get stuck in the river for anything from two to twelve hours. Maybe your bus will have to pull by the side of the road because the bus ahead is leaning halfway off the hill. My experiences anyway. You should give yourself plenty of time when going anywhere and appreciate life at a slower pace. Saying that you also shouldn’t be surprised if your transport is insanely overcrowded.

You should eat Burmese food and drink Burmese tea. Sip Burmese whiskey if the occasion allows. A Burmese salad is quite the treat too. You shouldn’t chew betel, the famous leaf of fine made of ingredients including tobacco, pepper and kava. Most men in Myanmar chew betel and that’s the reason for their rotting discouloured teeth. You should watch your feet too as Burmese men have a tendency to spit this out practically anywhere once they’re done.

You should learn a few words of the local language because in the more rural areas not many speak English.

Hello – Min gal a bah

How are you? – K’amyà ne-kaùn-là?

I don’t understand – Nà-mǎleh-ba-bù

So what are you waiting for? Safe travels 🙂

‘The only real prison is fear and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.’ Aung San Suu Kyi