Playing pool in Vietnam is quite a bit different than back home in North America. The structure and table set up can be quite similar, but that is where it ends. I will warn all of you feminists right now that you may not like some of the things I write, but please try to keep in mind that there is a very large population here and very few jobs. The whole economy seems to run by self sufficiency and manual labor. (Remember the post in the past where I had photo’s of an army of people cutting grass with scissors? No?? Maybe I will have to blog specifically about unusual jobs in Vietnam). An evening of playing pool goes sort of like this.
You drive up on your motorcycle and a security guard will direct you to a place to park. His job is to remain with the customer’s vehicles and make sure nothing is disturbed. As you walk to the main doors, they are swung open by two young and very attractive girls in miniskirts or hot pants. The pool hall may have 20 or 30 tables and there is a young woman assigned to each and every one. The Vietnamese men (and a few women) are playing some kind of variation of billiards and the young ladies are marking the scores and running for drinks. We choose an 8 ball table and usually get extra special treatment. A young man will usher us to our table and vigorously brush the felt to have it in the cleanest state it can be. If another just gave up the table, we cannot start until the balls have been polished. The job finished, our assigned young lady will rack the balls, perhaps with a little wriggle leaving us old farts slack jawed. The beers that were brought to us were running low, so our attendant runs…… yes, not walks….. but runs to get replacements because she will be embarrassed if she is not there to help us if we need her.
We jab each other as we watch how cute she looks in her rush to serve us. Now one of us shoots and scratches. Up she gets and runs to the end of the table to get the downed ball and hand it it us. Oh Oh!!……. A person needs to use the rest to make a shot. Don’t you dare get it yourself! You might get your hand slapped by this young darling. I have to tell you that it is a very pleasurable experience. Playing pool with your friends by being attended to by beauty, giggles, enthusiasm, in hot pants, is soooooo beyond what we experience a home. In the end it is all about having a good time. The young ladies work for almost no pay and rely on tips. We are happy to oblige them. Their company is as much, or perhaps in some instances more fun than the game.