In preperation for my latest adventure, in none other than Vietnam, I have been doing as much research as possible on Asia, and all the wonderful and crazy things I might come across. Of course, I checked out a pile of books from my local library that promised the BEST of Asia. But in my personal experience, these tourist guidebooks, while valuable for finding some of the must see spots in your destination, do not include many of the more fantastic and fascinating, but lesser know elements of the culture. Often times, the only way to find the best spots to have a good time are to gather recommendations from old friends who’ve already been and new friends you meet upon arrival.
I first became obsessed with the idea of going to Asia after my brother regaled me with tales of his own trip. I was living in NYC at the time, and he (being much cooler than me) was touring Asia with his girlfriend. When he landed in JFK after his trip, he crashed at my apartment and shared stories and photos that made me fall in love with the idea of following in his footsteps.
One of the best stories he told me was about “nos balloons,” which are a phenomenon at Korean nightclubs. Colorful balloons filled with laughing gas are super popular for the instant little buzz they give. If you’ve ever gotten a cavity filled at the dentist, or like, did whip-its from a whip cream canister in middle school (we don’t judge here), you know the feeling: short burst of euphoria, light headedness, and hilarity – hence the colloquial Western term, “laughing gas.”
This drug is also called “hippy crack” in some cultures which is hilarious, and a term I now plan on casually dropping constantly. @ me if you have any experience with this ridiculousness or any other weird drugs abroad worth looking into.