If your children aren’t wracked with fear and completely misinformed about historical events, you aren’t doing your job.  Fortunately, there are places in Vietnam that do the heavy lifting for you.  Time is money and those precious hours you waste popping wheelies while your unhelmeted child does a soft shoe on the seat behind you (I’m talking to you, Vietnamese parents) could be spent drinking to forget your lies and actions (or drinking to forget the truth and your inaction; whichever sets your whiskey arm a-itchin’ more).
Remember all those times you didn’t reverse Earth’s rotation to fix shit?  Keep drinking, Super-jerk.

Đầm Sen Adventure Park is a place to take your kids when the child’s blood-drinking demons that live in the ceiling-cracks above your bed cease to be fooled by rodent’s claret.  Between the rickety roller coasters, the haunted house that’s a legit threat to your “intact human” status and the whiplash-inducing bumper cars, you’re sure to leave this joint light a kid or two.

Jodie Foster will never love you, mortal!
Đầm Sen’s spokesman is a cockroach.  No joke.  

As a favor to you, dear reader, I took one for the team and threw myself on the Đầm Sen funeral pyre.  I took children who, not being blood relatives, were more or less expendable.  Our first stop was the haunted house.  I’ll admit that the pitch-black rooms, spray-painted particle board and misshapen foam skeletons struck fear deep into the cholesterol-choked recesses of my heart, but it was purely from an ADA stand-point.  Once in the haunted house, there is no way to discern which way is forward.  Cold, sharp steel stairs leap at your shins from the darkness, broken broom sticks abandoned carelessly against non-functioning railings lunge at your testicles (or maybe your ovaries; I don’t know how ladies organize their bits).  As you grope along the walls like some disgustingly crippled unsighted person, you find yourself confronted at regular intervals by vignettes illuminated with strobe lights.  Each scene tells a “story.”  For example: ‘And then there was an old lady who was a skeleton who sat in a chair while lights flashed on her!’ or ‘And then a man sat in a chair in front of a skeleton having a seizure while lights flash on them both’ or ‘And then a skeleton laid upon a table while lights flashed everywhere!’.  Riveting stuff.  Mostly skeleton-based tales, admittedly, but still there’s a lot of meat there.  Thinking about the brainstorming process for the haunted house is actually pretty depressing:

“So… what’s scary?”  says the sweaty president of the theme park (who looks like a partially sentient meatloaf).

“Skeletons and strobe lights, sir?”  squeaks out the small, meal-sized assistant.

“Right you arePromotions for everybody,” the fat man says, licking his chops/jowls as he heaves his corpulence within eating-distance of the smaller, weaker underling.  Wheezing, Tons-O’-Fun whispers,”...promotions for every… burger,” and then there are only wet breathing noises and the sound meatloaf sweating.  
                              ~fin~
This is the CliffsNotes version of The Catcher In The Rye
Even if you don’t hate your children enough to cripple or kill them, you certainly want them to be confused about well-known historical facts; the educational dinosaur ride in Đầm Sen seamlessly combines authoritative-looking charts, informative diagrams, dragons and cave men in a single place thus skull-fucking scientific progress back into the dark ages, because kids are total idiots, right?  They believe everything you say!  Bumbling poltroons!
Pictured: moron
Why should you clean your room?  Well, idiot, because Jesus is magic and he will tear off your face while cooking Mr. Kitty with his heat vision if you don’t.  Now go to the gas station and get daddy some menthols and a Mickey’s Big Mouth.

Did you read about how Brontosauruses aren’t dinosaurs anymore?  Yeah.  That shit’s real.  It was a bone mix-up by some overzealous archaeologist somewhere.  I totally loved Brontosaurus.  Maybe you did, too, but that train ride’s over, junior.  They’re all Apatosaurus, now.

I’m as real as Jesus and the Brontosaurus behind me
The dinosaur ride is meant to be a thrilling, terrifying experience.  If you’re 6, you’ll scream and bury your head in your teacher’s armpit.  Smell that, kid?  It’s Old Spice, now stop huffing all my classy, expensive deodorant fumes.If you’re not 6, you’ll herniate yourself laughing at the rubbery seizures of foam dinosaur after foam dinosaur.  Here’s a conversation that the ride designers had:
Guy 1: “Do you think- like, during the Jurassic period- that dinosaurs’ eyes flashed red and blue while they head-banged to pre-recorded, digitally distorted screams of bats being crushed underneath, like, car tires or whatever?”
Dinosaurs were neon, yeah?

Guy 2: “They better have, otherwise people will totally not believe they’re having sex with real dinosaurs.”

Guy 1: “Well, yeah… wait.  Did you say ‘having sex’?”
Guy 2: “Totally, dude.  The world’s most extraordinary prehistoric sexual odyssey and we are right here in the epicenter crafting the fuck-dolls.”
Guy 1 “No, man.  This is a kids’ ride.”
Guy 2:  “…”
Guy 1“You mean, you thought…”
Guy 2“You will shut the fuck up.  I got this foam-rubber dick rash for nothing.  For nothing.  Get me those porcelain ducks.  I’m gonna make a wet, vengeful mess of those non-dinosaur-fucking, pre-pubescent shits’ understanding of prehistory.”
Excuse the quality of these pictures; I’m taller than intended for the ride and dinosaurs/gently vibrating dumps kept head-butting me:
Porcelain ducks.  The Jurassic period.  Together at last.
This dinosaur hit me in the face
Vibrating dentures
This foam turd also hit me in the face
Corky the Dinosaur
Here are some non-life threatening highlights:
Kind of like The Galleon, for those of you who know a thing about Adventureland
Exactly like The Galleon, for those of you who know a thing about Adventureland
The Udder Queen’s dead eyes will follow you until you stop being a coward and kill yourself
Đầm Sen is quite pretty from the right angle
Check this mess out: there’s an attraction called Ice Lantern (they may have meant “cavern,” but we’ll never know); it’s a giant refrigerator for Vietnamese people to experience cold, because they think the mid 60s (F) is freezing.  It’s a warehouse kept at a brisk -15 C (without any wind that’s just long-sleeve shirt weather) and filled with ice sculptures of famous places.  There’s a giant Buddha and an ice train and an Ice-fel Tower (I thought of that, France.  Me.  You’re welcome).  It’s all quite pretty.  I took pictures on my phone of everybody kickin’ it.  Check’t:
Fuckin’ cool, right?




Science Discovers Trashcan Made From Pure Ice!


It’s just like being in Paris, if Paris were inside a cold-storage unit and crowded with Wonders Of The World crafted from ice.


This is supposed to be a princess.  She’s cold, emotionless and utterly disinterested in my well-being and somewhere in the middle of this sentence I got an erection. What’s wrong with me, Gob?


The kiddos praying to an ice Buddha.  Kids doing things is probably cute.

The kids were blown away by the Ice Lantern.  Nhi was like, “Mr. Charlie, I can’t feel my nose and fingers!” and she started panicking.  It’s weird to think that there are people who really do not know what it’s like to be cold.  Coming from middle-America, that shit’s older than the oldest of hat.  She went on to learn the words, “numb” and “circulation” that day.  Everybody wins!

Somewhere towards the beginning of this blog, you probably asked yourself, “What do snail eggs look like?”  Well, wonder no more, friend:

Snails bone and they get a nice centerpiece for their dining room tables.  All I ever get are tears and tense drives to Planned Parenthood

There’s a roller-rink buried deep within the bowels of Đầm Sen Park. This is the first evidence of roller-skating I’ve seen in Saigon and is precisely what one would expect from Vietnam.  The floors are cracked and uneven, there are suicidal “fun” features placed randomly around the rink and everyone rents skates in order to stand around and prevent others from moving freely or enjoying the fun, “skating” part of skating (it’s a lot like the road situation in this country, really).

These skates were as uncomfortable as they were broke-ass’d.

The only people who knew how to skate were the three folks who ran the skating counter.  Every other person at the rink toddled around like a dog trying to hump an imaginary leg.  It was a bit surreal.  However, given the condition of the rink, I don’t blame suckers for not knowing how to skate.

Pictured: the rink closing for lunch.

Having experienced the well-upkept conditions at the roller-rink, I was ready to really spit in death’s eye, so the kids and I moseyed on over to the roller coaster.

The lack of lines inspired confidence in the part of me that wants to die

I’ve ridden on some pretty funky-looking, carny-maintained rides, but god’am I’ve never seen anything so shoddy in my entire life.

When, “Made In China,” is meant to inspire confidence, it isn’t a question of if you’re going to die, but rather in what terrible, limb-rending fashion your death will occur

As you mount the ride platform, you’re ushered into seats where you wait for the coaster to complete its previous run.  This gives you time to really feel the weight of life and death; you know, to roll it around and get a taste for the gravity of your decisions up to this point.  Aside from the fact that the term “Vietnamese Roller-Coaster” sounds like a euphamism for a sex act that ends in a quasi-planned strangling death, being at the precipice of one is a sure way to induce Existential Crisis.

This is what a Dark Night Of The Soul looks like.

In all fairness, the ride was pretty okay.  There were several times that the metal screamed as if its tensile strength was being pushed to the very edge of its tolerance.  There were several times that the cars clanked to the right and left as if they were getting ready to leap from rails.  There were several times that the two sizes too small restraints seemed ready to fail.  But, when the kids jumped out of the car at the end and screamed, “That was so flipping awesome, can we go again?!?!” I was more than willing.  I mean, them properly using “flipping” and “awesome” makes me prouder than almost anything I’ve ever done in my life.  You keep up that fluent English and I’ll buy a bridge in New York from you, munchkins.

After the coaster, we hit the bumper cars.  Unless your spine is made from adamantium, you might want to skip this one.  It’s funner’n hell, but only because you can get enough momentum to really fuck up the life of that small Asian child who rear-ended you 30 seconds ago.

“Why’re you in a wheelchair?” has never had a funnier answer.

After the bumper cars, we hit three ice cream stands in a row (ice cream’s a quarter, for fuck’s sake!) and walked around until munchkins started whining.

Despite not bearing the “Eat It All” instruction set that Americans cones have, Kev-o was able to work out what to do with his ice cream cone.
It’s that peace sign thing that Asian people are genetically required to do.

Before leaving, we visited a merry-go-round and this weird ride-type thing for shorties.  It made frog noises and went up and down waaaaay too fast for children’s fragile necks.

I can’t hear you over the snapping of juvenile vertebrae.

This young couple put their 4 year old on the ride; this kid didn’t have sufficient neck-strength to support his head just walking around, let alone while riding Herr Kinderleben’s Coup Countercoup Machine.  He head-banged harder than I have ever seen a living human head bang, and I remember the 90s.  His mom and dad laughed like a clown had just farted and then exploded in front of them.  I assume that they belong to some cult that finds brain-swelling funny.

Here’s a picture of the older munchkins on the way out:

We’re out and done, yo.

I’d definitely go to Đầm Sen again. It’s like surviving a car crash.  It’s like waking up as Raymond K. Hessel.  It’s like punching Gob in the nuts and daring him to kill you.  If you like adventure and your life is cheap, I recommend you, too, take a trip to Đầm Sen.  Make sure you bring a spare change of diapers and your wits; you’re gonna need ’em.

That’s a blog!

Let me know what you think, yo.