A few thoughts on HCMC: Part 2 – Cheap Beer

Cheap Beer

Bia Hoi – If having a beer and keeping costs down mean everything, the dong stops here. Beers here are well under 50 cents a pop (it doesn’t matter which cents). Just head up Bui Vien Street from Go2 Bar (heading away from the Crazy Buffalo Bar) and you should see small groups of pasty white folk sitting on something resembling kindergarten size plastic seats being served beer by a leathery old mama-san’s, who probably can speak wonderful English but then again you haven’t paid for it, have you?

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The Great Yamanote Line Bar Crawl – Introduction

Yamanote Line Bar Crawl – Introduction

A little while back I first heard of an attempt made by a couple of expat lads to pull off what appears to be something of a men’s own in putting away at least one drink in the vicinity of all 29 stations on Tokyo’s Yamanote Line, the loop line which covers very significant portions of the city’s most interesting and well-known real estate and sites.

Taken in it’s most literal form it has to be among the more ill-conceived ideas you could ever come up with while living and working in another country, and had me soon searching for any similarly terrible vacation ideas to see how they compared (not quite as terrible as it turns out, this is a good read btw). While such a feat might prompt an initial flush of interest or even excitement to your average lager lout, the actual leg work needed to try and complete is not only grim and somewhat suffocating, but also destined to fail.

Let’s be very generous and imagine an 8am start (if you and your mates are the type who’d be interested in doing it, it’s safe to assume at least one of you are not the earliest risers). The trains finish up at around 1am which gives you just over 35 minutes on average to get to the nearest source of alcohol, usually a kiosk within the station (you wont have time to leave), finish your drink and be ready to do it again. There is no time at all for any exploration of the neighborhood and once other vagaries such as settling on a place, travelling to and from stations, visits to the bathroom, food, staggering, vomiting, drunken bromance talk, philosophical arguments and clumsy drunken failed attempts to chat up chicks disgusted by your mock homeless antics are added in it is inevitable you will fall short of a complete circuit. Eliminating the alcohol won’t help you a great deal time wise, and besides this is still a bar crawl, so you’d be committing a foul (I will get around to publishing a dry version one of these days)…

In the seed of this horrible idea however you have the makings of a very decent outing. So decent in fact I would rate it superior to the Lonely Planet’s recommendation of staying in Shinjuku as a way to get a feel for Tokyo if you only had a single day to spend here.

Next: Stop 1 (West) Shinjuku