Truong is a Vietnamese motorcycle driver (xe om) here in Saigon. Hes 50+ years old and has lived in Vietnam his whole life. I once asked him if he would like me to get him a job. He responded, "Why Bill? I am a free man!" I admire this ideology because it really makes you contemplate the purpose of work. Any other person living the way he lives would have jumped at the opportunity. But wisdom comes with age and this guy seems to have figured out the path he wants in life.
When I first met Truong he was lounging backwards on his motorcycle (something very common for drivers here). As I walked by he said, "Hi, Sir do you need a ride?" He spoke English so clearly it caught me off guard. I didn't need a ride anywhere, but I did need some advice and I did need a friend. He and I now meet once a week to talk politics and women. We go searching for motorcycle deals an browse the markets for manufacturing opportunities. He really has allowed me to see another side of Vietnam. In return I have set him up with a side gig as a tour guide. He makes more money when I set him up with friends visiting town than when he works as a "xe om" all week. Hes taken both my brothers on moto tours and dozens of friends. Hes a genuine man and a true friend.
When I told him I wanted to go fishing he jumped at the opportunity. He was all about it. Took me to a fishing shop for bait, tackle and rods. This place had every type of rod you can imagine. Some gear looked as if it was big enough for a whale. No one who can afford to go whale fishing would be at this shop to begin with. This place is for the locals fishing off the bridges and in the streams of Saigon. Anyhow, I paid for all the goods and he insisted he buy the hats. As poor as this man is, he always insists he pay for something. He often says "Let me be a man Bill," This guy's thoughts belong on T-shirts. Seeing how he lives has taught me a lot about the things I deem necessary in life. We just don't need all the merchandise we own. Knowing this man is proof that money does not equal happiness/
The fishing location was a stocked lake. We ran into these jerks being territorial about where we fished. Some guy said in Vietnamese that we are amateurs and we cant be there. Truong shrugged it off and laughed because we were fishing at a stocked lake. That meant they were amateurs too. There definitely was some racism or "cast-ism" there because Troung is a poor man and they were able to see that. Like most of my fishing ventures, I didn't catch anything. It didn't take long for Troung to say, "this is boring Bill." I agreed. The best part about this place were the waitresses in high heels at 11 am and the bus boys moving from table to table on 1990-style roller blades.
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