I’ve been using Tinder all over South East Asia.
Don’t look at my shame! It’s a good place to meet people ok?
It’s fairly consistent everywhere, outside of really touristy places it’s a pretty good 50/50 mix of locals and tourists. But each place has its own idiosyncrasies. The most different by far though was Indonesia. Some aspects were exactly the same, though I think they may have missed the memo about Tinder being a hookup app. Many girls bios would consist of, “Just a normal girl looking for a good time” but the pictures would be them in a full burka in 5 different places. Not sure exactly what constitutes a “good time” in this case I get the feeling that it's referring to marriage. This scene was fairly commonplace, which makes sense seeing as Indonesia is the largest Muslim population in the world. In the West, Tinder is so ingrained as a hookup app to separate the two was hilarious to me.
One of my go-to lines is to complain about how much I miss Mexican food. This is true of pretty much anyone I meet including you right now dear reader. Some tamales or an enchilada, man that sounds great and I could really go for some mole. There’s not a ton of Mexicans in Asia, I can only assume due to China’s Great Wall. So if someone wants to send me some barbacoa or al pastor tacos, corn tortillas, onion and cilantro with a little lime and some salsa on the side that would be great.
Anyway, I met a girl that offered to attempt to satiate my lust… for tacos. And she did stuff my hole… my mouth… with tacos… you perverts. She worked as a food critic in Jakarta and so she was one of the more qualified people to make an attempt. The tacos I got were pretty good, not bad, a valiant effort. She also took me on a food tour of the city and that was pretty great.
But by far the best Tinder date I’ve ever been on was with this Scottish girl in Phnom Penh. I matched her, she shoots me a DM. Something along the lines of, “I’m eating sushi on a rooftop bar, come join me so I’m not alone on my birthday.” I say sure and start heading over. I always have the thought in the back of my head that I’m about to get murdered or robbed or both. It never deters me which maybe says more than I would like to admit.
Long story short, we meet, have some drinks, meet some awesome British dudes, go for more drinks, Katamari Damacy-up some Californians, wind up at a karaoke bar, drunkenly gorge ourselves on a weird mixture of wings and passionfruit and have ourselves a rip-roaring time until 5 AM much to the chagrin of our Khmer attendants.
Unfortunately, the day after I was moving to Koh Rong Samloem the bus was at 8 AM. The hotel staff bursts into my room and tells me the tuk-tuk to my bus was waiting. Luckily sober me thought ahead enough to pack, so all my stuff was ready to go. I just remember being sweaty, tired and still drunk from the night before, with the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh rush hour happening around me. I remember feeling so miserable, crammed into a small tuk-tuk with a bunch of other tourists, fighting a battle for leg room with luggage. Like the whole situation was so absurd and chaotically beautiful in a way that I couldn’t help but feel stoked.