Sunday, February 24, 2008


Day-to-day living in Saigon rarely takes me beyond the two areas I live between, the central downtown Districts One and Three. I've been to Chợ lớn, the city's historic Chinatown in District Five, just across the street from District Ten to the southwest of One. I've also been to the airport, which takes me through Eleven up into Tân Bình District, so decentralized that it's saddled with a name instead of a number. (District One is supposedly the only part of the city still officially referred to as Sài Gòn, though Sunshine points out this fact is highly trafficked in guidebook trivia sections while remaining difficult to corroborate around town.) I don't know exactly how the districts were named, but the numbers are not contiguous, as you can see, and the names are not sane: Tân Bình District at the airport is one district away from Bình Tân to the west and somewhat closer to Bình Thạnh in the east (which has nothing to do with Bến Thành Market, a popular District One tourist destination). Today we took the twenty minute taxi over the bridge and through Bình Thạnh into District Two, separated from One by the Sài Gòn River (which I'm certain still uses that name). We'd been invited to dinner at the home of a Fulbright biologist and a man who makes excellent tortillas. After dinner, we took a stroll around the neighborhood (see Saigon Stud* update in the comments), where I was shocked by how very different the environment can be just walking distance from our apartment: steamy but beautiful, quiet, swampy and lush with low tropical vegetation. Corrugated houses leaned against four-story mansions; power lines propped-up by a bamboo ladder on the corner. A small town neighbor to our own confusing and bustling metropolis. [Cavin]

Then, a 1 sided conversation ensued...

To which Blogger Mr. Cavin added:

Saigon Stud: While walking along after dinner, waiting for an empty cab to pass by, I found fifty-one cards in a clump in the sand. Every card of one full deck, minus the Four diamonds and the Jokers. I was already dealt my hand in the eleventh round (in the comments here): the Three spades, Ten spades, Wild Joker, King spades, and King hearts equaling a imposing trip Kings which the House was unable to beat tonight with its less imposing pair of Eights (7 clubs, 2 hearts, 8 hearts, 8 diamonds, and 5 spades). I win the eleventh round.

Twelve: 8 spades, 6 diamonds, 2 diamonds, 2 clubs, and 2 spades for me; versus 7 diamonds, K hearts, A hearts, Q spades, and J hearts for the house; I win with trip twos. Thirteen: 3 spades, A spades, 9 diamonds, Q clubs, and A clubs for me, versus J clubs, Q hearts, K spades, A diamonds, and 6 hearts for the house; I win two Aces to nothing. Fourteen: 3 hearts, 4 clubs, 5 clubs, Q diamonds, 8 clubs--or nothing--for me, versus 5 hearts, 9 hearts, J spades, 3 diamonds, 7 hearts for the house--also nothing, but inferior to my high card. Fifteen (and last full round) I drew 7 spades, 4 hearts, 9 spades, 10 diamonds, and J diamonds against the City’s 6 spades, 5 diamonds, 4 spades, 3 clubs, and 10 hearts, and I again win with the highest card. I win every round. I am not making this up or cheating, by the way.

The last six cards I found, comprising my hand and the first of the House hand in the sixteenth round: Ten clubs, Kind diamonds, King clubs, Ten spades, and Six clubs. The City picked up a Nine clubs, and awaits the next four cards dealt. I have no doubt I’ll win this one, too.

I am interested in these cards I found. Almost a whole deck. The arrangement in which I found them is a very interesting order. Note how many of the hands above missed being straights by one out-of-place card (note that pattern persists between hands). Note that, in a vague sort of way, the cards are arranged red-black-red-black (at least a lot of the time). I think someone was playing a very frustrating game of solitaire without that four of diamonds, got mad, and pitched the whole broken deck into the gutter.

Monday, February 25, 2008 4:39:00 AM  

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