Sunday, September 28, 2008

Level 23 at the Sheraton

So I was at Level 23, the bar/club on the 23rd floor (natch) of the Sheraton Hotel off Dong Khoi in District 1.  It's one of the few places in town where one can grab drinks in mixed company, out on the town discussing work b.s.

Like all hotel bars around here, the house band is an imported lot.  It had been a while since I've been there, so I didn't know that the rather enjoyable American-based cover band, with their Jamaican lead songstress, had finished their 6 month gig.

When I saw the bassist in my local KFC picking up some chicken for lunch, and trying to pick up a fellow customer who was eating with her infant son, I didn't know it was the last time I would see him.  I was paying him some attention because there are very few African-Americans in town on business - they're usually here as tourists, while the black business folks are from the UK and its former colonies, or African blue collar workers.  Another customer, this one a local dude in his 50s or so, hit on the KFC female staff three decades his junior, and got her number!  I didn't know KFC was such a hopping joint.       

Anyhow, the new cover band seemed to have hailed out of Europe.  One of the guitarist is from Sweden, but he wouldn't play ABBA!  They do the same cover songs as the previous band, but they kinda suck at it.  It sounded more like an enthusiastic company karaoke night, than a professional cover band.  Particularly funny was a rendering of the Nelly Furtado/Timbaland hit, Promiscuous Girl, by a duo that looked more like blond Kelly Clarkson and Moby.  The Moby-lookalike doing an Akon song was enjoyable as well.    

Too bad that wasn't the highlight of the night.

I left pretty early because I'm not a big fan of American Idol.  So I got to the elevator and another guy was leaving as well.  As I wait for the elevator, he starts bitching at the Sheraton staff, calling them "dogs" in English and telling them to 'come here like little dogs'.

Alright, I understand that it can be easy for some people to get upset at the local staff, more so at places where they serve you alcohol.  But there is appropriate cursing and there is shit that is out of line.  I'm a New Yorker, cursing is second nature.

You can throw as many f-bombs and motherfuckers around, but you don't call people certain things unless you want your ass beat.  Don't call someone a monkey.  And don't call someone a dog, especially an Asian person.  The signage referenced below in Bruce Lee's flick may be an anachronism, but, if you are of a certain age, then it's part of your understanding of what's acceptable and what's not acceptable.

You don't call someone a dog in this context without intending to attach its most vile meaning - after all, the reason Dottie Pepper's quote is so funny is because (a) it was an on-air gaffe during the Solheim Cup (women's golf version of the Ryder Cup, for you non-golfers out there) and (b) she's such a goody-too-shoes that she didn't use the term she wanted to use, which was "bitch," to refer to the US women golfers.  This dude was not trying to avoid saying bitch.             

So I kindly told him to not use such language, and it escalated to me cursing at him.  Dude was some American (tourist?) who was upset because he was being kicked out of Level 23.  Man, this is Vietnam, it's like 9:30-10pm on a Friday night - what kind of royal asshole must you be to get booted from an expat bar at such time and place?

It was pretty fun cursing at someone on another's behalf.  So a fun night all around.      


Anonymous said...

You go!!! I hate those kinds of tourists, and not just Americans. I was in Nha Trang on my last trip to VN and some backpacker was talking smack, he sound like he was russian speaking English, about my cousins and I. He probably thought that we didn't belong in the expat Bar and dancing with their white friends, because some of my cousins (male mostly) were locals. There's a certain sentiment of reverse-racism/discrimnination with the losers-at-home crowd that suddenly think they are cool once they're in VN. I started cursing at the dude too but fortunately for both party, one of his friend was a peacemaker and difused the tension. I was half a second from pepper-spraying his behind.


D. said...

You were able to sneak pepper spray into the country?

I've seen folks punch it out on the streets a few times - it usually happens around a bia hoi, funny that.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I brought near a dozen into the country and never had a problem, no one even question me about it. I have a few female cousins that can use one, so I decided to bring a few more than I need as gifts. I have yet to use it against anyone, and to my knowledge, my cousin had not either. And I've been to Vietnam with the pepper spray many time.

They are great defense tools because a gun is almost never involve, in VN.