Thursday, December 5, 2013

Well, as shit stands right now, there is a fair amount of time on my hands.....

....prolly thee most free time I've had since I arrived upon these fine shores more than five years ago.  And, with Tet just around the corner, there will prolly be more free time....

Which, trust me, isn't necessarily a bad thing.

So, to kill off whatever time isn't filled by doing short-term/quik-hit spot gigs, my advanced level class, and firing out resumes to The States, I have been able to do some reading, I've watched at least five movies in the past coupla weeks, and I have also found time to return to this page.

Again, it's not a horrible thing because this free time DOES provide me with something to do, because, if you know ANYTHING about Hai Phong, you understand that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do here at all.  I mean, if you're into drugs, then I'd imagine that, being a major port city, heroin is easily available here.  And, if you like your girls, well, there are hooker huts all over the city ("hooker huts" are places that pretend to masquerade as cafes, but have some rooms in the back if your looking for more than simply coffee), but if you're not into those kinda things, then you're S.O.L.!

If you're a foodie, well, there are around 50,000 little carts on the sidewalks that will serve you a bowl of Pho or Bun, and we just got our first (SEVERELY over-priced) Indian restaurant, and we have the Colonel and that's about it!   A coupla Japanese restaurants (THANK CHRIST!) and not much else!

Got yo' Gamblin' jones on??  Not here.  Gambling is illegal in Viet Nam, and while they DO have "casinos" at five-star hotels where you must show a foreign passport to enter, these basically consist of cramming, like, ten slot machines into an area about the size of your bedroom closet!  And even then, the nearest ones are in Hanoi, a sixty-mile/two-and-a-half hour bus ride from Hai Phong.

Fan of the finer arts?  Well, they have an Opera House here....but no actual opera.....and one multiplex cinema that is actually worth a damm.

Bars??  Well, this is Hai Phong......and, like most places in Asia, they don't really have the normal corner bar that we are used to having on every street corner in The West.  In fact, there are only two (this in a city of 2 Million-plus people), and they were built to cater towards Westerners (as there are more and more and more Tay sllloooowly creeping into Hai phong) and neither bar really is anything to write (or E-Mail) home about.

So, again - there really ISN'T much to do here....and if it were the countryside, overlooking a small lake with butterflies fluttering about, I'd be all for there being nothing to do!

But it's not - It's a dirty, over-crowded, polluted industrial port-city, until I get the green light ta git the hell outta here and back to The States, I'm thinking that staying inside, reading, hanging with my wife and brats, watching films and writing sounds like a wonderful way to kill the time.  Besides - it's free!!

So, a few observations - 

  • The leaning tower of bad test scores....

APPARENTLY, 2012 was the first year that Vietnam students had taken the Program for International Student Assessment, or P.I.S.A., tests!  They just released the results of the 2012 testing last week.

Now, truthfully, there are serious questions about REPRESENTATIVE SAMPLING of the students who took these tests in several nations.  In The States, I'm pretty sure that they just tossed around the test randomly to whichever public schools to take and that was that!

Don't quite get the Chinese one, however. SHANGHAI??  Why not try a school in the middle of Bum Fuck Egypt somewhere in SERIOUS countryside and then lesssee how well they do!

STILL, though, either way, I was impressed with Viet Nam taking out the U.S. in BOTH:  Reading and math.

This really does NOT bode well for us Yanks.....

  • Commie Gamblin'....

Now, if you remember from earlier in this page, 
I had stated how Gamblin' is illegal in Viet Nam.  NOT to say that it doesn't go on, but not legally!  THEE only legal wagering that the Vietnamese public can engage in is betting on the Vietnamese National Lottery Draw.  I mean, people do card games and such around their local neighbourhoods, yeah, but the National Lottery Draw is thee big one for most Vietnamese!

I had seen this all over the place and have YET to have a fucking CLUE HOW exactly it works.  I mean, come on now!!!!!!!!!  LOOK AT OURS!!  THAT shit makes SENSE - Ya got a simple grid of fiddy-fo' numbers and ya gotta select five of 'em and then one additional number from a different grid of one through fifty-four!

The Vietnamese draw involves multiple groupings, different combinations, all sorts of mathematical sideshows that would have Pythagoras pulling his Goddamm hair out!!

Must be why they kick our asses in P.I.S.A. math test scores.....

Now, the wagering in these draws is initiated by simply walking down any street in any city or town or village around 5:00PM on any afternoon and seeing somebody sitting on the sidewalk in a plastic chair and a wooden TV tray.  If they got a light-blue colored tablecloth (pic immediately below) and glossy-ass lookin' tickets, they ARE (usually) authorised by The Government to sell tickets for the draw.

If they got last night's numbers on a Goddamm chalkboard and no light-blue tablecloth (which are most of 'em), then they are NOT authorised by The Government to sell tickets for the draw!

I GUESS that this is similar to the "numbers racket" that gangs run in places like Harlem where THEY are the cashier AND the bank who take in and pay out wagers based on the numbers that The Government draws!

But the thing that I really dig is THE PRESENTATION!!

Now, our big-ass draws (Mega Millions, Powerball, etc.) are on this flashy stage and hosted by some guy who's taken way too many amphetamines and there are trombones blaring and hot chicks in bikinis being chased around the set by circus midgets dressed in clown costumes and wielding leather whips with huge fireworks explosions going off in the background!!!

HERE in Viet Nam, the lottery draws have all of the excitement of a Soviet Union State funeral, except there is this weird music that is being played from a 1979 Casio keyboard that was stolen from the inventory of the National Communist Party History Museum, ripped off from an exhibition the museum held about 32 years ago called "The 
debaucherous artifacts of Capitalism"

(Billiard balls provided by Brunswick)

I had asked my wife to explain why the Vietnamese hold their lottery draws in this bizarre, militaristic manner.  She said something along the lines of "....preserving the dignity and integrity of the contest." jaw went directly through the floor.....




Anonymous said...

Does the Viet Nam lottery feature the bankruptcy, shame and despair that the Oregon Lottery features?

- V -

CN250 said...

Goddamm.....never saw THAT before!

Yeah, I agree - the extreme ease of access to video slot machines in oregon is NOT a good thing. I think it would be a good idea if there were some sort of inter-state or even Federal laws that stated that casinos had to be at least 100 miles from each other.

THAT WAY, gambling becomes a DESTINATION and a fun thing to do where you have a laff as you piss away your vacation ca$h and then ya head home after a few Reno or Vegas or Atlantic City or Niagara Falls or something like that!

It's no longer fun the way it is's just a severe financial drain on individuals who can't afford to be drained!!

I mean, with the exception of grandfathered-in places like Nevada and New jersey - each state should be allowed to build one MEGA-ASS COLOSSAL casino/resort complex with, like, 200,000 sq.ft. of Gamblin' Jones, 6000 slot machines, 650-room hotel, amusement park, etc. etc. etc. or have ONE Deadwood/Central City/Blackhawk/Cripple Creek-style town in each state with 20 or 30 little casinos limited to 30,000 sq. ft. of gamblin' space and meebee 750 slot machines and just leave it at THAT! Aridzona could have their's near the Grand Canyon, Maine could have their's near Bar Harbour, Massachusetts could have their on Cape Cod, etc. etc. etc. - I think that would just simply make it waaaaaaaay too much of a pain in the ass to go to more than six or seven times a year instead of hitting the video crack during your GODDAMM LUNCH HOUR (now THAT is scary) it'd help stem the easy access to addiction problem!!

The State Government would NEVER allow this, however.....