Sunset Boulevard

There is a bar I’m very fond of on the front esplanade in Vung Tau called Sunset Boulevard. I like it because it’s not full of hookers, in fact it’s normally close to empty most nights. It has a good pool table and they have a computer beside the bar with jukebox software with 400,000 songs on it, and if that doesn’t do it for you, you can just switch to YouTube and play whatever you want, and they will turn it up LOUD for you. You can just go “Man, I want Danzig – How the Gods Kill, and I want the volume up to 11” and Thinh, the bartender will go “Sure thing man”.

I’ve only been to Sunset Boulevard maybe a dozen times at MOST, and that was almost exactly a year ago, and I walked in, and Thinh, the bartender said “Hey man ! Long time no see !” and I said “You remember me ?” and he goes “Of course man. I remember everything about you. You are photographer from Australia, you make website, and you love playing Korean music on the jukebox”. I laughed so hard. I said “It was the Korean music wasn’t it ? That’s why you remember me” and he said “Nah man, I remember you many times. You come in when it’s quiet and play good music and drink good liquor, you’re a good guy”.

I shook his hand and said “Thanks man, I’m so glad you remember me after a year. How about one of your special mojitos to go with my Tiger, but add a little extra gin to it ok ?” and he goes “No problem. Guarantee you love it or no charge”. I said “Colin is coming soon” and Thinh said “Big Colin ?” and I said “Yeah man, he said he’d be here in 20. I’m gonna go out for a smoke”. Thinh said “You can smoke in here man” and I said “No, Special herbal smoke, you know ?” and he laughs and goes “Ahh, just like Colin. I come out and join you”.

So Thinh and I went out for a quiet smoke before Colin rode up on his bike with his new Vietnamese girlfriend (who was much, much prettier than the taxi girl he had last year, despite being a nice girl) and had a puff and we all chatted and Thinh said it was so cool to see both of us still coming back to his bar for so many years.

Colin had a bunch of friends with him and he introduced me, but I remembered few names because I had a few drinks under my belt, but he introduced me as “Dangerous Dave”. It’s a nickname he gave me last year, and all of a sudden all these guys were coming up to me going “You’re Dangerous Dave ? Wow Colin has told me lots about you”. I turned to Colin and said “Why are you telling stories about me a year later ?” and he shrugged and said “When you’re there, the night is never boring. No fear man. That’s why you’re Dangerous Dave”. I laughed and said “Many people know me as this ?” and he said “Everyone I know in Vung Tau does, which is a lot of people. See that girl there ? She’s never met you, but she knows you’re Dangerous Dave”.

I facepalmed and said “Thanks Colin, I don’t know whether to be incredibly proud of this or incredibly embarrassed, but it’s nice to be known at least”.

Colin didn’t stay long. I think he had plans with his pretty lady, but I just hung out and talked to Thinh and picked lots of songs. Soundgarden, Nirvana, Violent Femmes, Cold Chisel, even Going to Calafornia by Led Zep. I told him it was for all the couples so they could smooch and talk a bit. Thinh kept mixing me mojitos, varying them each time as I requested. Little gin one time, some tequila another, vermouth, I dunno. He’s an expert bartender.

I really shouldn’t have ridden home. I mean it’s not very far, and the traffic is very slow on the esplanade at night due to taxis and cyclos, but a taxi did suddenly jump out into my lane and I had to hit the brakes real hard and I let the bike slide out in front, but somehow I hit the ground face first and I got a very nasty gash just above my left eye. It’ll heal, but I expect it may leave a scar. But honestly, that incident would have happened anyway, cocktails or no cocktails. Vietnam traffic is chaos, but the accidents are actually mostly minor. You could get pretty badly hurt, but you don’t die on a suburban road in Vung Tau.

I was massively ill the next day. I have not vomited after drinking all year long, but this morning, I spent a lot of time driving the porcelain bus, but all in all, while I spent a lot of money on cocktails, I had a great time, caught up with Colin and Thinh and met lots of great new people and had a good laugh and forgot about my worries for a night. Here’s the gallery. Looks like everyone is having a good time, right ?

If you’re in Vung Tau, which is only 1.5 hours on the hydrofoil ferry from Saigon, Sunset Boulevard is at 6 C Quan Trung St (next to Pig and Whistle Bar). And yes, they will even let you play Wonder Girls or SNSD !

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