We arrived in Hanoi late Friday evening to find Laurens waiting for us with a bus and a large cooler full of beers. The bus ride to the hotel was uneventful, but Laurens gave us a brief overview of the town and his opinions on the local nightlife.
It was a drizzly, rainy night, and most of us had worked all day so we struggled to put on our party pants. After we checked into the hotel, we had to wait about 20 minutes because Chris decided to take a little nap although we all agreed to just drop our bags and head out.
Our next destination was Jaspers, the Hanoi Dragon’s club house equivalent to Wall Street. It was a decent place, and the cheeseburgers were great. The big Kiwi manager, Tony was a player for the Dragons and he took care of us on Friday and Saturday. We drank a few beers, talked to some of the local rugby players, and did a round of Stuntmen (A tequila shot in which you snort the salt, drink the shot, and squeeze lemon in your eye).
We went down to this river barge bar after Jaspers and it was cross between a teenage rave party and a Wild West saloon. Strange place so we lasted about 2 beers before moving onto the next bar. The name of the next bar was The Lighthouse and it had one customer before we got there so we could tell that Hanoi did not have much of a night atmosphere. The boys continued on though and managed to stay out to the wee hours of the night looking for fun.
The next day was game day and we prepared by going downtown for a team lunch at a nice little place called Little Hanoi. We geared up after lunch and headed for the pitch at UNIS. The pitch was just as nice as Patana’s and the weather was cool and overcast, perfect for rugby. We had a great start to the game with Laurens scoring the first try within 5 minutes. Unfortunately we couldn’t keep pace with their 16-year-old, ginger haired, phenomenon and he ended up scoring 4 of their 5 tries almost single-handedly. Frederico played a fantastic game, chased the ginger lad the length of the pitch at one point, and was later named the Bangers player of the game.
At the end of the game the score was 5 tries to 1 but we got together with the Dragons and showed them our spirit by proudly singing the Bangers song. Tour kit came next and Trevor supplied us with some fancy dresses and hats for the evening. Thanks Trev. We went to meet the Dragons for some beers and talk at the pub across the road called Jaffa’s. The players of the game for each team were presented, and Tates was also mentioned for organizing the game. We challenged the Dragons to a boat race and it was a close one until we came to our anchor Bob who downed his pint in about .08 seconds to seal the win. It was nice to have at least one win for the weekend. The night got kind of messy after that with the golf ball and peg floating around so I’ll just say that we had a good one and met up the next day for a cyclo tour and court.
We held Kangaroo Court in the upstairs of this tiny pub that had an extremely low ceiling. Jeff was the presiding Judge, Heath the prosecutor, and Chris the defence. Everyone was found guilty of something and had to do a shot of either vodka or Vietnamese rice whiskey or both. Kind of messy once again, but we had a bucket upstairs to minimize the damage done. Mike and Chris took full advantage of the bucket.
After court I don’t really remember the ride to the airport, the plane ride, or checking in at customs. I just remember paying my taxi driver at my house and stumbling upstairs to my apartment. Apparently, I was told later that we continued drinking beers to the airport, and buying hats and trinkets almost everywhere we stopped. When we got on the plane we were sitting in the emergency exit row and were politely asked to move because we were in no condition to operate the doors in the event of an emergency exit. I got good use of my barf bag, but found that it leaked a little onto my jacket. Sorry to Jeff and Frederico, who were sitting next to me.
Besides the little bit of unconsciousness at the end, I would have to say it was a successful tour and we operated with Bangers courtesy and pride.