Hello Saga!
This is a story I experienced in northern Vietnam. I took a night bus from Hanoi up to Ha Giang and stayed at Bongs hostel and rented a motorbike from them. This was my second day on the northern Vietnam "loop" that you can find on So amazing!
I was riding a motorbike in North Vietnam two days ago, which is very sparsely populated, and got a flat at the top of a mountain. I looked at the map and saw a town down the road a ways so I start hoofing it. About 10 steps in a group of kids start coming around the corner. Everyone walks around here, up and down these gigantic mountains, with bales of corn or bricks or babies on their backs (you can tell how old a lady is from behind by how permanently bent over she is because of this…it’s nuts). So the group of kids know how to say "hello" and "goodbye" and I stop and talk to them for awhile, mostly high fives (which they had never seen before and looked so confused when I put my hand up), fist bumps, that sort of thing. After a few minutes I say goodbye but they don’t really understand and start following me down the road. I’m leading and every time I look back they are doing exactly what I’m doing, so I start skipping and heel clicking and dancing and they do the same. Every about 100 steps more kids come out of no where and start following until I have a group of probably 25 kids following me down the road saying “hello” and “sup dood” and mimicking my every action. So I am walking, leaned Way back, swinging my arms in a 'cool guy' fashion when I round the corner on the town and the first thing a group of old ladies sees is a white dude with a huge beard cool guy walking, followed closely by 25 kids doing the same, all making an "I don't give a crap” face. The ladies are stunned and just stare for a little while and then bust out laughing and clapping and won’t stop clapping. I start doing the other 10 or so moves that I had done which the kids all now know, and they keep clapping until one starts singing and soon everyone is singing while the kids and I are criss cross leg dancing and doing the grapevine. It was the funniest, weirdest, most amazing thing. And all of it was with the backdrop of some of the most amazing mountains I have ever seen. Seriously mind-blowing scenery in Northern Vietnam. Finally the clapping dies down and I try to tell them about my tire through charades and they finally get it and send one of the guys up to get the bike, which he and his friend do without really asking where it is or anything at all, just leave and appear about 10 minutes later riding one moto and pushing the other guy on mine from behind. Everyone follows over to their house and they fix it up in no time and then invite me in, which I try to say no to but they won’t have it. I follow them in to find a group of ladies sitting on the floor around some food and a 1.5L bottle of what looks like water. Turns out it’s corn wine and they’re shooting at about 2P. They pour me one, and then another, and then everyone has to take a shot with the new guy and I keep saying “mot lan nua” (one more) but every time I look down there’s another shot. These folks also smoke wooden bongs with what I think is tobacco, so I give that a shot and it kind of tastes like tobacco, but I think there is something else in there. About an hour later I realize I should probably get going if I’m going to make it to the next town to stay the night. I didn’t really know how much alcohol was in the corn wine, but I did once I stood up…enough that I certainly couldn’t drive a motorbike through the mountains. They saw my struggle and led me to a place on the floor for me to sleep. The rest of the night I walked through the town with a huge group of kids behind me and hung out with basically the entire town as they played with my beard and tried to learn some English words. They live by the sun, so at about 5P when the sun goes down they eat a bit of food and are out by 6-7P (only to wake up at about 3A). Was perfect because I was very drunk by that time and passed out quickly on the floor.

Aaron Elliott
From Lincoln Nebraska USA