Travel & Living in Hanoi, Vietnam
Have you ever wondered how aliens would describe a game of football? I have.
I think it might go something like this…
There are 22 millionaire Earth-forms who turn up once a week to chase a sphere around a field. They do this for two 45 minutes spells.
The object of the game appears to be to kick the sphere past one of the two millionaires that are allowed to touch the sphere with their hands and into this fishing net drying frame. This sphere is variously called “The Ball” or “To Me”.
While this is all going on there’s another guy with a whistle who runs up and down chasing the sphere as well. He avoids touching the sphere with either his feet or his hands most of the time. Every so often the running around stops because the guy with the whistle has blown it or there are people lying on the ground wanting a rest from all the running up and down.
The game is played within this geometric pattern that’s outlined in white. While this is all going on there are two other people running up and down each side. They are friends of the guy with the whistle as they often wave these little flags at him.
They don’t appear to be very popular with the people doing all the running up and down though. But not as much as they dislike the millionaire humans have for the guy with the whistle. With all that money you would think they could just buy a whistle of their own.
This sphere or ‘ball’ chasing is done in front of other people. They divide themselves into two tribes on the way to and from the field. The number of people turning up to watch depends on whether the people doing the running around are millionaires or not. Sometimes the two tribes can total 40,000 or more, but if the ball chasers don’t drive a Bentley or Ferrari then there will be six people and a dog.
After the first 45 minutes, all the people running up and down take a little rest. While they are recovering, the two tribes eat animal-filled pastry cases and drink various plant leaves and beans infused in hot water in flimsy cups with no handles. The people doing the running up and down seem only to eat orange coloured fruit.
When the recess is over, the ball chasers swap directions for another 45 minutes. Often no one manages to get the sphere into the fish net dryer. Other times the sphere gets kicked into the fish net dryer and one of the people with the little flags will wave at their friend with the whistle.
This makes many of the ball chasing Earth-forms upset and emotional.
However if the sphere sneaks past the human who can touch the ball – and the guys with the flags – then there is even more emotion on display. This is heightened by dancing and many bizarre rituals in front of the ball chaser’s tribe.
It’s all very strange. Only one thing is certain: the guy with the whistle owns the sphere. He always takes it home.