As camp as a row of tents

In the words of Forrest Gump when talking about his time in Vietnam:

“One day it started raining, and it didn’t quit for four months. We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin` rain… and big ol` fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath. It rained and rained and rained”

It’s technically been ‘wet season’ since June, but that just meant some short showers a few times a week and we could still go about our daily lives. Over the last two weeks however the downpour has been unrelenting, streets have flooded and I feel a bit like the ark left without me. Leaving the house meant wading through calf-deep water and a snorkel would probably been seen more as an ingenious idea rather than odd.

Genuinely what the alley behind our house looks like

So what was there to do? The only thing imaginable; we planned a camping trip next to a huge waterfall.

We hired a minibus  (which had a TV in it and the driver insisted on playing 90s love  ballads the whole way, cue Boyzone, R Kelly and Westlife) and 16 of us piled in armed with rain jackets and Hanoi’s finest £1 a litre vodka.

The camp site was in a s resort next to Giang Dien Waterfall. The tents were already set up on wooden platforms with awnings, electricity and even little cupboards inside. They even provided a basket with toiletries and towels.

As already mentioned, it had been a tad rainy, so the usually calm waterfall was what can only be described as ‘raging’. It was also horrendously muddy. So of course we swam in it, having to hold onto branches and slippery rocks to stop ourselves floating away.

Evening came and the rain started with vengence. It was so heavy and the storm was so loud it genuinely sounded like we were being bombed. We were the only people on the whole campsite as it was low season and midweek. Everything was due to close at 6pm, but we managed to convince the staff to let us stay in a lit gazebo until 10pm. Come that time we’d run out of alcohol and didn’t fancy carrying on in the dark in the forest. Out of the group I was the only one who had sufficient Vietnamese for bribery and thus was thrust towards a security guard with a hand full of money. Alcohol is a well known linguistic lubricant and somehow, despite him speaking no English, I managed to persuade him not only to allow us to stay inside an empty restaurant until the early hours of the morning, but also to drive to the nearest town and buy us more beer, spirits and mixers and deliver them back to us. This was my proudest moment so far in terms of language ability and elicited a round of applause from some very drunk and wet campers. To be fair there’s only so many words and gestures you need to state the amount of bottles you want, I think the money did most of the talking.

Apply liberally to vocal chords for maximum language fluency.


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