1. Because memory is a slippery bugger.
When I was 31, I backpacked alone through Vietnam without a journal. I’d recently purchased a pricey camera, so I enthusiastically snapped hundreds of photos, never bothering to write down a word. Not surprisingly, what I retain from that trip are imprecise memories and a shoebox filled with slides of people and places I can no longer name. Furthermore, because I traveled solo, I can’t even poach my friends’ memories for missing details. In short, I didn’t bother asking myself what I’d want to remember and what I’d likely forget.
“WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING?” I asked my guide after he arrived an hour late to go for dinner.
“Drinking,” was his short, slurred answer. With a challenging stare he dared me to comment. I merely nodded and suggested we find something to eat.
We were in a small Degar village in the central highlands of Vietnam, on the third day of a four-day motorcycle trip. I had met Anh on the streets of Nha Trang, where I told him I wanted to escape the pretty picture presented to the bucket-guzzling backpackers and see the country for what it truly was. Anh promised to show me the ‘real’ Vietnam.
He was a quiet, brooding man, but a good guide. He knew the roads perfectly, pointed out sights I wouldn’t otherwise see, and answered my questions before I asked them. The only criticism was that every night he got blind drunk. That day he started drinking at 4pm. While I explored the village, Anh had aimed for oblivion with rice wine. I was hungry, tired, and sore from the day’s riding. I wanted to eat and go to bed.
You know the joys of Yuengling.
The nation’s oldest brewing company is actually distributed across the East, and if you grew up in Florida, you know it as the king of the upper-bottom-tier gas station beers.
You know the Tampa shit-hole paradox.
Tampa is one of the more interesting cities I’ve ever been to, mostly because it’s a total shit hole while also being cool in a cousin-with-a-weird-social-disorder-who-makes-funny-jokes-about-your-uncle kind of way. This is also the anomalous sports city, and the only place you’ll find actual Rays, Bucks, or Lightning fans.