What You Should Not Do in a Foreign Land : Getting Drunk

I was a virgin. She was standing there in full glory. Her high heels were piercing every step she took. I did not know where to look. Staring at any part of her made me feel guilty while not looking seemed rude. And then it began…

“At first I was afraid, I was petrified, kept think..” the speakers blasted while Oak the flamboyant drag, started dancing on the floor, lip-syncing to Gloria Gaynor.

I was a virgin, no more. I had seen my first drag show. My friend and I sipped on our Vodka Redbull with a huge grin because we found seats by the bar in the crowded shoebox sized bar.

What I was really not expecting was to be barked at by the bartender to remove our drinks from the bar top. The rest happened very fast. Before we knew it, we were listening to Its Raining Men by the Weather Girls or in this case, Oak and her two male backup dancers on the bar top.

I blinked my eyes and Oak was on her back on the bar top with one guy humping on top of her (with clothes on). All these might not seem like a big deal to some but I was sort-of a conservative boy. (Note the “sort-of”)

At the end of the show, as the crowd was dispersing, something in me came alive. Before your pervy minds think what you think I might be thinking of, I will say it was the adrenaline. The sudden realisation that  my family was not around me. I did not have to be the goody boy. I had just seen a drag show which meant I have just seen the world! So I celebrated by ordering a cocktail. Then another and then a third. My friend, a seasoned drinker was warning me not to mix my drinks and he did try to stop me from ordering more drinks. But I had to have this moment. I was a grown-up!

Fast forward 1 hour later.

Yours truly was puking by a side of a road alone at midnight in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I was holding on to my handphone on one hand and using the other to prevent anybody reaching into my pockets to access the cash I had in there. I was practically an easy target with invisible neon signs inviting people to rob me.

And people did come. First a guy,  a woman and then another guy. My friend was a few steps away at a night stall waiting for his food to arrive. He assumed that I went to the toilet. He could not see me from where he was seated.

I was holding on to my phone for my dear life trying to control my vomit. I felt a hand on my back. That hand was patting me. Another hand gave me a tissue. I looked up at them. They had a look of concern and pity. When I felt like nothing else was left to crawl out of my mouth, I stood up and gave them a thumbs up sign. I got one in return with smiles. I staggered back to my friend who was happily eating.

I have learnt from this episode. I was lucky. I learnt to never do something God-Damned stupid like that again. Future travellers out there, never get drunk. If you insist, do it within four walls. Do it with a non-drinking buddy you trust.

I underestimated Cambodians. Given for a fact that you would get swamped by beggars or peddlers trying to sell you goods at every corner you headed to, these three individuals snapped me to reality (the next day that is). God knows if they had any malicious intent but they proved that one should not judge anyone. Thank you strangers.

Have a limit. Be the limit. (Terms and conditions apply)


I have travelled with my family to some countries till when I was about eighteen years old. Started doing trekking trips to Malaysia with school mates. Exploration trip began with Bangkok-Pattaya where I just did normal touristy stuff and then this Phnom Penh trip. Any trips after this did not involve me repeating the same mistakes again.