What I Did Today Instead Of Going To See Pagodas

I walk down a narrow side-street and there is a group of locals standing in a circle and drinking beer.  One guy stands in the middle holding a chicken upside-down, bound at the feet by a piece of string. He is opening out its wings and seems to be demonstrating to the others what a good chicken it is, I think he’s trying to sell it to them. I walk by, probably stare at the chicken, the guy holding it says hello, and then “you like chicken?” I shake my head, so he points to the dog sitting under a table nearby, and says “you like dog?” Without thinking I say “yes!” then quickly add “for petting.” He picks up the dog, which is not small, and motions me to come over so he can hand it to me. So then I’m standing in the middle of the circle, cradling this huge dog in my arms like a baby. “What’s his name?” I ask. “Lucky!” And then they all start chanting, “Lucky, Lucky, Lucky…” and pointing to me, then to the dog: “You. Lucky. Yes!” I sort of get the idea they are offering to sell Lucky to me, for eating. Lucky must sense this also, because suddenly he starts struggling violently in my arms. He must be the size of a 7-year-old child. He struggles so much that I drop him and he lands right on the chicken. Everyone erupts in laughter, including me, and I say goodbye, figuring this is a good place to stop. Except I don’t know the Vietnamese for goodbye so I just say thank you, which makes everyone laugh even harder.

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