11 July 2006

Phu' Tho. Racetrack

Phu' Tho. Racetrack. "Phu Tho" is the Vietnamese spelling, if spelled phonetically, it would be somewhat like "Foo Taw". I have two memorable childhood incidents that are related to the Racetrack.

I don't know when the racetrack stopped being a racetrack, but by the late 1970s it was simply a piece of abandoned property. Some areas on its edges would serve as garbage dumps, while other plots inside became someone's vegetable gardens or soccer fields. My father loved watching soccer and normally caught the game at Co^.ng Ho`a Stadium. One day, however, he took me to the so-called racetrack to watch amateur soccer. Next to us there was this drunk with a cigarette in one of his hands. Soon enough, his smoldering cigarette burnt me somewhere on the leg. When my father yelled at him to stay away, the drunk man kept saying, "Tui bie^'t tui dde.p ro^`i!", meaning "I know I'm beautiful!". Of course it didn't make any sense, after all it did come from a drunk. Nevertheless, I found it amusing, and I think my father did, too. We talked about the incident and its meaningless phrase every now and then.

The second Phu Tho incident was more painful, physically and emotionally. Let us save it for a future blog entry...

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