Before moving to Boston, I spent several months backpacking solo through Southeast Asia. A few weeks in, I crossed over the Thailand border into Laos. After wandering the border town of Huay Xai, eating blistering chili-covered grilled chicken and chewy water buffalo skewers, and imbibing on tall Beer Laos', my friends and I stumbled upon a tiny bar oddly named "Hanoi Karaoke" around 2am.
The darkly lit bar was packed to the walls with twentysomething Laotianans singing the local standards with perfect pitch while drinking beer over ice to combat the 105-degree heat. I asked the bartender if they had any English tunes and he said to simply type songs into the karaoke computer until I found one. After around 20 unsuccessful minutes searching and being relegated to simply typing in letters and scrolling past the Laotian classics, I found three English options: "Material Girl," "Every Breath You Take", and "Wannabe".
But then I landed upon the holy grail of karaoke songs and, at about 3am, surrounded exclusively by confused Laos regulars, I belted out "I Want it That Way" with the vigor of a charging rhinoceros, the pitch of a dying cat, and the dance moves of a person being electrocuted. I took the mic and sang throughout the room, getting down on one knee and serenading the unsuspecting locals. When the song ended, I got a standing ovation as dozens of patrons raised their glasses of watery beer for a toast. I'd like to think they were impressed, but in all likelihood, they were pleased that their ear drums stopped bleeding and the bar owners would only need to replace three of the six windows.
Needless to say, I am available for weddings and bar mitzvahs.