Thursday, December 2, 2010


This is my last new city. It started off perfect. Took a while to find a guesthouse but once I did I took off down the main boulevard. I was looking for a new guitar but didn't find much. Then I met a buddy of mine (who I met in Cambodia) and we set off for dinner. Stuffed ourselves on goat hotpot - very good - at an outdoor eatery as Vietnam pummeled Myanmar in the Asian Games on tv. 7-1 was the final score. We had our first green label Saigon beer there. Everything to thing point has been red label Saigon Export.

While walking back we came across some dudes playing... I think it's called Goa. It's like a cross between hackey sack and badminton. Like the sac crossed with the shuttlecock. All you do is kick it around like hackey sack, but they play a tennis version too. You really need to see a picture. Anyhow the things these guys can do with the goa is astounding. No-look behind the back heel flicks are standard fare. And they're kicking the goa 30 feet or more. You have to see it to believe it.

Anyhow... we stopped and watched and I started laughing when funny things happened and such and pretty soon we were invited to play. Invited to sweat is more like it . But my soccer skills kicked in and I did ok. We played a few doubles games, then headed off for frozen yogurt and beer.

I had bought a goa earlier in the day since I was blown away by the game since first seeing it in Phnom Penh near Wat Phnom. So after a couple beers - and after watching roughly 1000 scooters and motorcycles stream by with hammer and sickle flags celebrating the victory - we headed over to the nearby park where some real pros were kicking around the goa. It's like playground basketball here, everyone is doing it. We sat down and watched the greatest goa display we had yet seen and started 'talking' to three locals. Really just making gestures and pointing at the ridiculous displays of skill going on. A woman was trying to sell us another goa relentlessly. I kept showing her I already had one and then started gesturing to the locals and asking if they played. One asked in hyper-broken english if I meant 'did he want to play with me?'. Of course I did. The next 1.5 hours were some of the most fun ever. The five of us (4 guys one girl) formed a circle and within 15 minutes it nearly doubled. I think the foreigner novelty was a big draw. My buddy took off pretty quickly but I had an absolute blast. I finally had to end the game (since it was my goa to begin with) and get to my room (where I am now) to skype with family. And write this. But they talked to me a bit after playing and we all agreed to meet up again tomorrow at 9 PM. That's after we meet the first group of guys at 7. Saigon is awesome.

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