….or perhaps it should be titled “Being a really really pale white person in Vietnam”
Vietnam was THE country that I’ve experienced the most attention in. And oddly enough, it wasn’t so much because of the hair (well it was a little bit). It was more because of how pale I am. Therefore, this post will be divided into two sections.
1. I’m a really really white white person
The Vietnamese are kind of obsessed with having white skin. As is most of South East Asia. Initially, it was just offhand comments about “oh you have such nice white skin”. But it culminated in one of the last towns I visited in Vietnam. I have no idea what the name is called as I just transferred buses there, so I call it ‘Nameless Town’. In the half hour I spent walking around that town, every woman who saw me stared. And after she got over the initial shock/envy/whatever, she would elbow her friend and they would both stare.
The more shocking part came when I was walking through the market. As markets in Asia tend to go, they were fairly narrow walkways, pretty standard. The surprising part was when I was walking through a few women reach out to touch my skin. Not timid attempts to touch it, but full on running their hands down my whole arm. I guess they didn’t know whether it was real or not. Luckily, I’m pretty used to getting weird reactions in this part of the world.
2. That Ginger has weird eyebrows
The seems like a strange name for the title of this subsection but trust me it isn’t. The main stir caused by my hair happened in Dalat. Prior to that, the only other incident was in Hue. Where at the hostel, I gave my food order to one of the Vietnamese staff, and turned around to talk to my friends. All of a sudden I feel something in my hair, give a slight start and turn around to see that it is the employee essentially stroking my hair. I let her continue because, again, I guess she didn’t think it was real. She eventually stopped and went back to work.
As I said the main event with my hair was in Dalat. My friend and I were hanging out with this group of Canadian guys and we decided that we wanted to go out. We found a Vietnamese club and had a grand old time. I was trying to explain to them what it’s like to be a ginger in Asia, but it’s difficult information to relay. This club also had women hired to dance there. Not strippers, they just kind of hung out on the dance floor and did shots with patrons. Well I went to use the washroom at one point and a few of the dancing girls were in there fixing makeup and hair. When I went to wash my hands, they all turned around and started looking at me. There were the standard comment and grabbing at my arms because of the white skin. Then a few of them wanted to touch my hair. Honestly, pretty standard at this point in the trip. But the strange part was one girl could not get over the colour of my eyebrows. She just kept pointing to her eyebrows, then my eyebrows, then my friend’s (who has dark brown hair) eyebrows, over and over again. I’m used to people staring or wanting to touch my hair, but eyebrows…that was a new one!