In the Spring of 2010 I broke up with my (sort of) boyfriend while we were on a road trip. Immediately afterwards I booked a One-Way flight to Beijing, China. We’ll have to talk about that later, though. Three months into the trip I found myself wandering around Hanoi, Vietnam.
I stayed at “Hanoi Backpackers,” a well-known party hostel that boasts a complementary keg in the lobby where sunburnt arms and legs bump into each other while risking dysentery for the sake of a decent buzz.
My first night I met a pair of girls from Slovakia who were impressed that I had been to their country’s capital and rewarded me with an invitation to join them for a visit to Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum.
I NEVER pass up an opportunity to see the embalmed body of a former Communist revolutionary.
We made plans to meet at 6AM then I headed up the five flights of spiral stairs to the hostel dorm– where I found a massive cross-cultural drinking game in play. A surging hoard of intoxicated and half-clothed Europeans sat in a semi-circle yelling a variety of vulgar phrases at each other while taking shots. I climbed over them, steadying myself on their shoulders as I tripped on empty vodka bottles.
Thankfully there was a small partition separating my row of bunk beds from the rest of the room and I was fortunate enough to score a bottom bunk– one of the most coveted luxuries in the backpacking world.
I drifted off to the sounds of their drinking game, which at one point involved trading accents. The Aussies tried to sound Irish, the Belgians attempted French, and a Spaniard butchered British diction. It was my very own lullaby and soon I was out like a light.
I am awake.
The room is dark and quiet and I hear the familiar sound of sleeping bodies around me. But then I hear another noise. In the bunk above.
Oh Lord, please no.
The wet fluid sound of movement.
A feminine giggle is muffled by the sound of a blanket.
More wet smacking.
I feel an urgent desperation as my fight or flight instinct kicks in and I frantically claw around the bed, trying to find my iPod. I plug it into my ears and tell myself this is merely the circle of life.
But then it gets louder. A moan escapes. I turn up the volume, focusing on the music, the mausoleum, the need for sleep.
But the moaning does not end. Drunkenly, they moan. Male and female, they moan.
I switch to a live concert recording, trying to lose myself in the deep bass line and loud applause. I’m almost there when a raspy voice screams in the night.
“OH MY GOD THAT WAS THE BEST ORGASM I’VE EVER HAD!”
I imagine Ho Chi Minh, embalmed and encased in glass a few blocks away, shifting uncomfortably in his eternal sleep.
I tell myself the worst is over, but it has only just begun. There isn’t a song in my iPod that could contend with the performance playing on the bunk above. The bed rocks, slams, sways, and bows with every thrust. For the next two and a half hours I watch the wooden slats above my head, waiting for them to snap from the passion, and bury me in their amorous weight.
I can see the headlines now:
“American Girl Dies When Copulating Couple Crushes Her In Love.”
“Backpacker Killed By Fornicating Top-Bunkers.”
“Bunk Beds Recalled After Drunken Thrusting Leads To Death.”
Somewhere between her panting and squealing she remembers to make him wear a condom.
“Oookay,” he slurs, heaving himself to the side of the bed.
“Where’s the stairs?” he yells, fumbling for the ladder.
5:00am–THEY FINALLY FINISH.
6:00am– I trip my way down the five flights of stairs, thankful to be alive but traumatized nonetheless. I meet up with the Slovakian girls and we spend the morning filing through long lines, being shoved and shouted at by humorless soldiers with fixed bayonets.
Any other day I might have been intimidated by their emotionless and rigid demeanor but I’d had my fill of passion and acrobatics. Even Ho Chi Minh glowing peacefully in his casket was to be envied for the bliss of such deep and unrelenting sleep.
This was a turning point in my backpacking mentality– It was time to start paying that extra $2 for a female-only room.
Have you ever found yourself an unwilling participant in someone else’s Baby-Makin? Have you stumbled upon an Unexpected Tryst or committed Coital Trespassing? Surely I’m not a prude for wanting nothing to do with anyone else’s bedroom business, right?
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