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See you later, Vietnam!
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Author:  truffle00 [ Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:46 am ]
Post subject:  See you later, Vietnam!

Hello everyone! Tis the season to partake in a vacation, and I’m sure many people have many wonderful stories, but I would like to share mine with you because I think it is particularly special – and no, that is not just hubris. For you see, I returned from Vietnam on Friday, and the whole experience was more than a bit surreal. To do this story justice, we should start from the beginning, so pour yourself a drink, buckle in, and let’s go on a keyboard adventure!

This whole thing began one Thanksgiving evening – I was having some issues with my family and so was having my own dinner, and then I had recently learned that every person I was working with at my job was going on a winter vacation to a warm destination. And I had no plans, and was intending to sacrifice my time for the good of the company and cover for everyone else. But this…this, was greatly troubling, and I expressed that sentiment to whozzzzz, with whom I was playing a round with at the time. Between the late hour and the beverages I had consumed to that point, I found a fleeting sense of courage that allowed me to announce to him, “Hey, how about I come out to Vietnam.” This could not have been less thought out, but, it was now out there in the universe, for someone else to attend to – it was no longer my problem.

But of course, it became my problem once again, and oh so soon. Because whozzzzz very quickly returned to me and said that he would like me to come visit and that he would be with me for the whole time. Who says this? Obviously, anyone and everyone making empty promises. Who actually follows through and does this? Your guess is as good as mine, but my guess was I would hang out with a Vietnamese person for maybe 50% of the time at the most. And so, I booked a hotel all the way across the city, since that was a good walking tour area and so whenever whozzzzz couldn’t come out to me, I could at least easily wander on my own and fill out my Hanoi experience. Or so I thought. I then booked my first one-way flight out within maybe 30 minutes of saying I would come to Vietnam, and the next flight a little later. Between the two I mentioned the booking status and said to whozzzzz I put a lot of money down already – should I really come over? – and his only response was a resounding, “Yes, I will take care of you.”

Over the next month, I will admit, I got more than a little freaked out. I am not well-traveled, and I am not a savvy traveler, and so this might have not really been a good trip for me – even if I understood the language, culture, and everything else, which I did not, it would be a complete poop-show if I did not have anyone else around. I saw myself as an island, and so also reached out to other Vietnamese SO players as whozzzz mentioned maybe grabbing drinks with them one night. Russia and US_Pro deserve a shout out here, as they devoted far too much time attending to my insecurities and assuring me that it was safe and friendly to come out and that I would have a good time.

I won’t lie – before flying out to Vietnam, I didn’t really tell even my family what I was going to be doing. This was a stupid approach not knowing what I know now, but at the time, never having spoken to the players in Vietnam, and just relying on a long history of SO chat (like 10 years!), what could I tell my family that I was off to go do? Spending a week in Vietnam hoping people would have mercy on me and allow me to come back to the USA alive was all I hoped for – if only to save face, and not be the stupid foreigner visiting and thinking that I was God’s blessing to that strange and new world (for me).

***Let’s take a quick break at this point. I haven’t even described the vacation yet, but that’s the point; the time in Vietnam was only 7 days, and I had a month to build up my fears and concerns and for them to compound on each other over and over in a vicious cycle. There was a disconnect between where I found myself and where the far-too-kind Vietnamese players were, and it was mentally hard to bridge that gap. It’s easy to let fear build and hard to let trust build, and as much as I wanted to trust, I just did not know anyone. But that was December 24, and then I was on the flight out to Vietnam, eventually…***

Author:  truffle00 [ Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: See you later, Vietnam!

I am not intending to make this a full accounting of my trip, primarily because everyone has tremendous evidence of vacations that they have taken over the holidays and for me to assume posting my pics while wasting other peoples’ time as something valuable would be rather presumptuous – and it’s not a competition. I would like to focus on what my friends helped me see and do during my time there. Below is my basic itinerary, and I will try to fill this in with links and pics later on if anyone is interested:

• 12/26 – Dinner with whozzzzzz’s family at his house – what a welcome to the country.
• 12/27 – Visit Ninh Binh, and Bai Dinh pagoda – (SO players tried to kill me on this trip via cardiac arrest, never go on a stair-climbing adventure with someone half your size if they aren’t carrying weights that makes them as heavy as you. They will never understand your pain.). Dinner with SO people – Russia, consnack, TRAN, BP and others.
• 12/28 - ~~US_Pro~~~ substitutes and does a remarkable tour of Hanoi. Later dinner with whozzzzz’s family.
• 12/29 – Van trip to Ha Long Bay, stay overnight on a cruise ship
• 12/30 – whozzzz drank too much and forgot his pajamas, he asks if I’m okay with him hanging out in boxers and a robe…hopefully this is not meant to be sexy time. There is a wife and children around, but they now seem way too far away…
so I sat out on our cruise ship’s balcony that night for a while, and it was beautiful
• 12/30 – Get sunrise pictures on Ha Long Bay and go to the hotel
• Stay in a hotel on the Bay after that, go back to Hanoi
• 1/1 - SO players at the first dinner asked me to join them for another dinner halfway through the first dinner – scheduled for 1/1, and I couldn’t say no…thank you TRAN!

Author:  truffle00 [ Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: See you later, Vietnam!

whozzzzz and US_Pro both picked me up from the airport. They even had to wait an extra hour since the line for getting visas to Vietnam was so backed up, but they were too kind and accommodated me – I felt so bad, but they understood and let me be. We were introduced after, and drove back to whozzzzz’s family’s house, and my first dinner in the country was shared with him and his family, and sister who was visiting as well. To have my first Vietnamese meal be something prepared in someone’s home was a privilege I can’t describe properly without tears clouding my vision and preventing further exposition and so I will leave it at that – but whozzzzz’s wife makes some awesome fried seafood spring rolls. Much respect. I want more. :) His mother made some fantastic fresh rolls as well, though I was maybe a little offended when they told me, “Eat the rolls with your hands. Like the children. ” And so, being the defiant and confident American, I ate the rolls with the chopsticks, and ate one of the mini peppers that they used to season the dipping sauce, but raw and whole. That was a disastrous mistake – I then had to fight to keep the food down in my stomach and not cry lol. Whozzzzz’s wife took pity on me and provided me with multiple bananas to eat to soothe my tongue. I’ve never cured a tongue-pepper burn with bananas before, but damn if that didn’t make it better. What a wonderful woman.

On Day 2, both whozzzz and US_Pro picked me up at 6:15 a.m. at my hotel even though it was highly inconvenient for both of them, but they just wanted me to feel comfortable and so they came to me. Unless you know the layout of the city you cannot appreciate how inconvenient I made it for them; this was not deliberate but they never gave me any inclination of offense and treated me as family. We went about the day as described above and it was glorious.

Author:  truffle00 [ Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: See you later, Vietnam!

On day 3 – 12/28 – I had my first dinner with all of “the SO people”. whozzzzz had asked me previously if I would like to have dinner with other people who play SO…my answer? “OF COURSE!” This was my chance to meet as many people as possible, so I went for it. SO is not the game, it’s the community, so I was compelled. In his message to me he suggested there would be 2-3 other players there. How wrong that was….

We met in an internet café, on the second floor, in a room seemingly assigned a standing reservation for this SO Vietnam (VN) crew. They clearly knew the proprietor, and I had a decent green tea provided to me, and it felt like this was a good place to hang out. Oh how wrong I was. After Russia and another person finished their Age of Empires (or whatever stupid game it was that was not SO), we descended the stairs and found ourselves on the street – with motorcycles in front of us.

whozzzzz said, “You ride with Russia!” to which I laughed and responded with a definitive, “NO.” What an idiot I thought he was to even suggest that, lolololololohno. Hell if I was going to get on that death trap. For you see, I was a fool – I assumed they were attempting to pluck the strings of my deepest, darkest fears and play me like a banjo for their amusement. Sadly, the motorcycles were actually how we were supposed to get to dinner, and thus began the most terrifying few minutes of my life. I could not tell you how long this lasted, since I am not sure if the motorcycle ride was 2 minutes or 30 minutes, or if it just felt like 30 minutes of riding the most extreme segments of a rollercoaster. But instead of riding with Russia (who is closer to my size), I rode with whozzzzz (half my size), and didn’t want to make sweet love to his backside (so I held on to the back of the seat and probably made the motorcycle that much less stable and more dangerous). Okay, maybe riding a motorcycle doesn’t sound so bad, but do it in this traffic without a helmet: . I was sure this was how I would die, and I hadn’t even met the full Vietnamese crew – and that made me sad.

Author:  truffle00 [ Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: See you later, Vietnam!

Upon successful arrival though, the guys took me out for a “seafood dinner.” I put that in quotes because this is my forum post and I get to frame what they did to me. The first dish, in my estimation, was snails. I was not too pleased, but I had made a pact with myself to try everything at least once. And here is how the snail conversation went:

Me: “That’s a snail.”
Them: “No, it’s not a snail.”
Me: “The shell looks like a snail shell.”
Them: “It does look like a snail shell.”
Me: “I pulled the thing out of the shell and ate it, it looks like a snail.”
Them: “Yes, it looks like a snail.”
Me: “Did you make me eat a snail?”
Them: “No it is not a snail!”
Me: “Wait you said it has a shell like a snail, it looks like a snail…”
Them: “No it’s not a snail!”
Me: “Well what is it if it’s not a snail?”
Them: “I don’t know the word for it, but don’t worry, it’s not a snail!”

Okay I get it, mess with the foreigner and make him eat a snail hahaha. It’s all good, they kept eating the creatures too, so it wasn’t just a prank. But, this began one of the most considerate meals I have ever had. They ordered clams – which I normally do not eat much of, but these were good – and then stone crab claws, shrimp in the shell, some sort of oysters Rockefeller, and a coconut seafood curry with bread. My friends took the best care of me – I might as well have been a helpless baby. whozzzzz kept peeling shrimp and throwing them in my bowl of soup. Clearly, in the land of 130 pound men, the 250 pound man is the one who is hungry and malnourished. US_Pro requested the bread dish because white people need bread, and I look white. This was just a dinner, but thinking about it in retrospect, I tear up because everyone wanted to take such good care of me, and I had no idea how to even begin paying it back.

Author:  truffle00 [ Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: See you later, Vietnam!

Just for a quick roll call, I should mention that the people in attendance were: whozzzzz, US_Pro, Russia, TRAN_ANGH_ANH, Belzebuit_Pro, and consnack. Names are listed out of order to protect the identity of players in the picture, unless they wish to self-identify. :)

And then, halfway through dinner, TRAN mentioned that he is getting married on January 6! I think it is almost that time in Vietnam as I am posting this, so allow me to request a quick thing:


He thought of his wedding first, but wanted to also show me a good time in his country, and so a second – and farewell – dinner was booked. We did some things later that night – SO crew made sure I was well-attended to and entertained. I am inclined to leave it at that lest some crazy men interject.

The next morning, whozzzzz was called away on business, and US_Pro was willing to step in on almost no notice to take me on a walking tour of the city of Hanoi. I don’t know it he researched this first, but he gave me a full explanation of every site in the city. It was almost a little scary how much he knew, but I could not have asked for a better host for the day. He took me out to try Bun Bo Hue, and though I was a bit weirded out by what the dish entails, US_Pro was a perfect gentleman in ensuring I indulged in one of my few demands for the trip. I know you had a family dinner to plan as well, and so thank you again for spending so much time with me and making sure I got back to my hotel okay.

Author:  truffle00 [ Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: See you later, Vietnam!

The next day involved the trip to Ha Long Bay. I have no idea how or why whozzzzz managed this, but I ended up staying in his room on the cruise ship (pictures of the bay attached – you will know it when you see it, it’s the islands that you had no idea where they were but now you know). I felt so bad, since I displaced his wife on their family trip, but he offered and I could not have had a better time. I owe him, his wife, and his family, and I will never forget this time that I shared with them. This was a vacation attended by his wife and kids, his mother and father, his aunts, and his sister and her children, and I was never made to feel anything but part of the family. Call me soft or whatever, but when you’re 8000+ miles from home, that can mean the world to a person – and it did to me. I made friends with whozzzzz’s and his sisters’ kids, and I miss them so much right now and hope to see them again. I never thought I would be best buddies with a three year old - but what can I say, we bonded over our shared level of mental maturity and round, baby-like faces. ;) whozzzzz, buddy, keep moving things forward like I asked.

Author:  truffle00 [ Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: See you later, Vietnam!

Ha Long Bay was quite nice, and so was the hotel relaxation after the trip. I have a pic of playing SO alongside whozzzzz, situated at the 4th floor pool overlooking the bay – what a view. Eventually we got back to Hanoi, and so we had a farewell dinner for me, for which I was very grateful. To see so many SO players once is one thing, to have them show up again really meant a lot. I shared pictures with my parents during this time, and they sure felt stupid for calling this, “some dumb game where you’re playing with weirdos you don’t know.” I can happily say I play this game with weirdos I know. :D

I did have a fantastic time, and the duck was really good. Thank you to everyone who showed up. I apologize that I wasn’t willing to participate in more risqué adventures, but WHEN (and not IF) I come back I know my opinions can be massaged a bit to be more liberal – and I’ll be a bit more exciting.

Author:  truffle00 [ Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: See you later, Vietnam!

As I learned in my time in Vietnam, it is customary to have 1-on-1 toasts with individuals, and given how much people have contributed to my happiness, I feel a need to toast my friends from afar:

- whozzzzz – thank you so much, you know what is coming next. Also, the world should know you have the cutest toddler - nobody compares to Candy.
- US_Pro – thank you too, we should chat maybe
- Russia – classy move on the second bottle of Scotch, I owe you, and good luck on the leveling. Next time, I’ll ride with you.
- consnack – I hope to see you at the rank we talked about, best of luck. Single bros forever – or at least until I find some woman desperate enough to tolerate me lol. :D
- TRAN – like I said, it’s your wedding day and I hope you are not looking at the forum, but if you do, go balls to the wall buddy!
- Belzebuit_Pro – you’re a crazy man, and next trip I hope to hit the pipe three times – then time for karaoke! And a massage, if you insist, and then…you tell me! :D

Author:  truffle00 [ Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: See you later, Vietnam!

I am left kind of wondering where and why we are at, after this essay. I owed a substantial post to the Vietnamese players because I am substantially in their debt, with how I was treated while visiting near-strangers as family instead of as a near-stranger. And the more I think about this, we are not the game that we play, regardless of hours and cash and CC and mags spent leveling. Because – and sorry SO management – this game is over 15 years old and whatever you do with it on upgrades, it will never be the shiny, new, fun exciting game that is going to attract the world to play. But, maybe what is invisible to you is the community that has erected itself around the golf game – the community that allowed me to travel to Vietnam on a couple weeks notice and be treated like a baby with all my needs met, going on a vacation with a friend’s family – I like to think that is the SO that is meaningful, and endures. Please, fix the bugs, do whatever you said you would do in the “Word from the Developers”, but remember – we are a community here, and that is what matters most. That is our – and your – legacy.

‘Til next time and the next adventure…


Author:  truffle00 [ Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: See you later, Vietnam!

Can't seem to attach pictures here, so I'll give access to the full-resolution originals:


Author:  bryaninbristol [ Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: See you later, Vietnam!

What a wonderful trip you had, loved reading your post and thank you for the photos.Awesome memories :)

Author:  TheZodiacKid [ Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: See you later, Vietnam!

You are always welcome, Shot-Online friends.
I have to use google translate but still can feel all you want to say :)

(from Tung)

Author:  MilodelParis [ Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: See you later, Vietnam!


I'm glad you weren't gone 3/4 weeks, my translation software would have exploded...! Russia, what's it like there?! As courteous as in the game lol...?!

Joking aside, I sometimes went out of Paris for stays in the South of France, to meet S.O. players with whom I had built respectful relationships, affinities, for many BBQ's until the early hours of the morning, unforgettable moments of sharing!

I even shared an afternoon with a crazy Caribou from Quebec in Paris :twisted:

Thank you for sharing this truffle

Author:  Kozar [ Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: See you later, Vietnam!

I am a longtimer as you are in SO, I have met several SO people in real life also. But always in the States. Im not sure I could do what you did and applaud you and am happy you had a great trip. Also nice to see some faces for well known game names,, Thank you for sharing.

Signed,,just another old timer


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