Friday, January 14, 2011

Late Night Pool

(PICTURE: My Uncle Barry and Aunt Donna on Huyen's roof during the an hoi.)

If I had even one ounce of smarts in me, I would have gone straight to bed after the an hoi. However, for some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to make use of the billiards hall in our hotel. I mean, how many times in life can you play pool with relatives and friends in a Vietnamese pool hall the night before your wedding? Seriously, how could I not play?

A handful of people decided to join me for some late night pool. I quickly taught everyone the Vietnamese pool game that involves cards. We started playing and failed to impress any of the Vietnamese who were in the hall and equally shocked to see foreigners there and to see how terrible we were at playing pool. The only person with any legitimate skill was my Uncle Barry. Barry has a pool table at his house which gave him a slight advantage. After a little while, most of my friends went to bed (which I should have) and only Barry, Justin and I remained in the pool hall. It was great getting to spend some alone time with my uncle and cousin as we shot pool and chewed the fat about Vietnam. Barry, like my parents, was draft age during the Vietnam War. Like my father when he first visited, I think Barry was struck by how open and friendly the Vietnamese were despite the still fresh history between our countries. We ended up having a pretty philosophical discussion which lasted past midnight.

The game/discussion finally ended when I sank my final ball. I'm pretty sure my uncle let me win since I was getting married in a few hours and he didn't want me to start the day on the wrong foot.

* Two notes: 1. Earlier in the day my uncle basically said this to me: "You know, my whole life I've had a hard time understanding what you said because you always talked really fast. However, since you moved to Vietnam you're really easy to understand." My uncle meant this and I took this as a compliment since English teaching has made my pronunciating much better than in the past.