Thursday, January 31, 2008


This is the sequel to yesterday's post, picking up right where I left off: sitting in the coffee shop of Sunshine's office building, contemplating my hair. Soon Sunshine arrived, my hair not noticeably longer, and we hailed a cab home. Our cabbie was a nut: she fussed about taking the fare, she cranked the parking brake whenever we stopped in traffic. At one point, pulled over at the Hindu temple on Trương Định Street so she could buy a mysterious string of bulbs, or maybe herbs, or maybe Tet decorations, I glanced out the passenger-side window and saw the salon I'd been looking for all afternoon. Here it was, number forty-four; I must have walked right past it because it was certainly well within the radius of Tuesday's fruitless search. This is the punch line of yesterday's post, but the sequel continues: the cabbie took us on home safely. Since I now know where the place is, I returned for my haircut today. That block of Trương Định is lined with stylists, by the way, something I'd noticed coming through before. In each, uniformed girls lounge on the fashionable furniture in neorealist boredom. Each salon seems more egregiously twee than the last, culminating at number forty-four. Six girls in polkadot sundresses hopped up: three opened the glass door for me, I was guided to my armchair by Four, an iced coffee, cloudy with condensed milk, set in front of me by Five. Six draped me with towels and rubbed my shoulders. It took a few minutes to make the stylist understand I didn't want very little cut, but very little hair. I walked out with what I wanted eight minutes later. Price: two-fifty, cheaper over the next nineteen months than replacing my defunct clippers. Stud update in comments. [Cavin]

Then, a 1 sided conversation ensued...

To which Blogger Mr. Cavin added:

Saigon Stud Update: (wow, this is going to be a long one) first, I didn’t pick up any cards in Hà Nội, though I saw a lot there (really: on day one of my trip I lost count in the thirties, on the last day I saw what looked to be two decks laying smeared together in the gutter). I just didn’t feel right starting a hand with another city. Do you Live in Hà Nội? Do you want to play against me, your city against mine? Get in touch.

Okay, the hands: on Sunday, January twenty, I found the Wild Joker on some stadium steps during a My Chemical Romance concert, kicking off the eighth hand of Saigon Stud Poker. I found the Three clubs and Jack hearts around District One on Tuesday while looking for a barber (I saw a lot more at the corner of the supposed outdoor-barber road, maybe twelve, but they were under a mass of parked scooters and I couldn’t make it back over there after hours. Also, that might be taking this all too seriously). Today, crossing the street at Lê Lợi, I found twenty-six playing cards strewn along the sidewalk. The Three diamonds and Ace clubs being the first two, rounding out my hand with a pair Aces. The House got a Three clubs, Five hearts, Seven clubs, and Twos in diamonds and spades, losing with that small pair.

The ninth hand, played entirely today: I drew the Nine, Six, and Seven diamonds, which was encouraging until I also drew the Two clubs and Jack spades, ending with Jack-high nothing. The City drew Four spades, Ten hearts, Kings spades (beating my high card, I lost right here), Seven spades and Jack clubs, ending with a little more nothing than me. This makes the House’s second win, bringing the record up seven-to-two.

The last nine cards I picked up today were the Eight and Four hearts, Eight diamonds, Jack clubs, and Ten spades in my hand, giving a nice middle pair, and so far the city has a Jack diamonds, Ten spades, and Sevens in hearts and clubs, a slightly lower middle pair. This one can go either way, and almost went bad: later this evening, on the way to eat Indian food, I saw a card underneath a plastic seat. It was in a river of gutter drainage, and the seat was occupied. There was no way I could get it, but it was a Ten. That would have given the house a second pair, beating me soundly. Since I could not draw it, however, the house cannot play it. I hate to win this on this technicality, but if I do, that’s just the way it has to be. That ten, by the way, would have been the hundredth card I’ve recovered from the Ho Chi Minh City sidewalks (if you don’t count the three-fourths Joker I found way back in the first hand). [Cavin again]

Friday, February 01, 2008 3:36:00 AM  

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