Playing Vietnamese Bingo in Hoi An

Hoi An was perfect and quaint, like a chocolate-box town. As a result it is touristy, clean, and safe.  Well, apart from the time a 3 year old kid took it upon himself to challenge my boyfriend to a fight. We were walking home in the evening when we were confronted with this toddler, stood in the middle of the path in a karate pose, a fierce look of determination in his eyes. As we walked past he started kicking and karate-chopping at my BF. He barely came up to my BF’s knee-caps so we didn’t feel the need to report it to the police 😉 It was so cute and I had to suppress giggles. My poor BF – an old lady hit him in Hanoi, he was slapped by girls on a bike in Hue, and now this…!

River, Hoi AnHoi An is famous for its tailoring – you can get a tailored suit made to your requirements overnight. There was every fabric you could imagine, made in any style you want. I nearly bought a suit but then chickened out. They also made shoes, so you could have converse-style trainers made in red chinese silk, or whatever.

Hoi An 1Hoi An 2One of my main memories of Hoi An was the rain – monsoon-like rain bucketing down, but despite the rain we had a lovely time and managed to explore the town. We wandered down to the river and watched boats carrying rows of motorbikes on board. This was fascinating to us, and even more so when a motorbike was unloaded filled with ducks!

Ducks on a Motorbike, Hoi AnThe fruit and veg markets were also worth a wander – selling all sorts of exotic colourful fruits. Although we were too tall and had to duck (Duck! – get it?!) to walk underneath the tarpaulins overhead, which were by now carrying the weight of lots of rain water.

Markets, Hoi AnWe happened upon a traditional Vietnamese game, which we eventually identified as decided to call “Vietnamese Bingo”! Only locals were playing but after a while we got up the courage to pay up and play!

We were each given a paddle showing three sounds – eg. “Ba” “Giong” and “Ngheo”. Then the Bingo caller wailed a tune, which resulted in a sound being called out. So for example if  they called out “Ba”, they would then string up a little sign saying “Ba” on a rope across the courtyard. We all had to check if we had a match. I got one and was given a little flag. Once someone got 3 flags they had won.

This went on a few rounds and we loved it, squatting there on tiny stools enjoying the game and giggling in excitement at the bizarre situation we had found ourselves in! My boyfriend didn’t get a single sound, and eventually the man with the flags came round and had sneak peak at what sounds he had. And funnily enough, next round, one of my BF’s sounds came up! Bless! So sweet that they wanted him to win a point! 🙂

Next blog: My Son, Vietnam

Previous blog: Danang, Vietnam


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