White people wanted: Vietnam rents foreigners
By: Chris Hems 11/02/2019
Vietnamese people are extremely gracious hosts. They try their very best to make sure their guests are as comfortable as possible and well fed. Western grandmothers are not much different from Vietnamese hosts in that they will feed you until you pop. You can’t finish a Vietnamese family meal without needing to play football goalie with your empty bowl as your hosts try to put more and more food in it.
Last week, I was browsing Facebook expat groups in Vietnam when I saw a job posting looking for a foreigner for a 1-day gig paying $100 USD, but you needed to message them for details. Curious, I left a comment and sent a message inquiring the posting.
Basically, a close family friend from a small village in South Vietnam was getting married and they were hosting a few Viet Kieus (Overseas Vietnamese) from the USA at the wedding. They worried that the Vietnamese Americans wouldn’t speak Vietnamese well and they wanted to have someone to chat with their guests so they would feel more comfortable.
15 years ago, I read stories about Chinese businessmen and families hiring foreigners to be present at business meetings and even weddings. I had heard of Vietnamese girls hiring fake boyfriends for Tet, but this was the first time I had personally seen “Foreigner at a wedding”. I leaped on the opportunity.
The family picked me up at 5:30 am. The 8 seater car was filled with friends and family also attending the wedding. On our way to the wedding, they took me to this really good authentic Vietnamese restuarant. My plate was filled with chicken, grilled pork BBQ, and rice.
As we were paying for the bill, my host leaned over to me and said, “Hey, you might want to grab a few napkins. This wedding is at a small house and they might not have any toilet paper.” Smart thinking. I grabbed a fistful of napkins.
The wedding gave me a unique experience with Vietnamese culture. We lined up and presented tins filled present covered with a traditional red cloth outside of the groom’s family home.
They took photos of me presenting the gifts and taking shots of Vietnamese rice wine with the bride and groom. Lots and lots of photos.
The food was catered traditional Vietnamese fish from the nearby river. After our meal, we headed back to the main city where they originally picked me up.
Overall experience 5/5. Would do it again.
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