Da Cau

I got another review published over at Wink Fun. Here’s the review and one photo. There are more photos at the Wink Fun site. There’s no direct link to the review, but you can find it here if you look for this picture. Plus you’ll find a link to buy one of these, and lot of other cool things. I believe they publish a new review every day.

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This summer our family got to take a dream vacation to Vietnam. While my wife sets up the slide projector and screen, let me tell you about this thing I bought during a stroll through one of Saigon’s beautiful parks. A number of young adults were kicking around this thing that’s sort of a hacky sack with feathers. And what they were doing with this thing was amazing.  They were kicking this thing back and forth, 30 feet between them, often kicking it forward over their shoulder with bottom of their foot.

As I watched in amazement, a street vendor approached me with the product in hand. I said no thank you and kept walking. I didn’t need anymore stuff. By the time I got to the next group of folks playing with one of these, the 10-year-old inside me had won. Clearly, if I had one if these things, I would be able to perform these amazing kicks just like these kids (never mind that I’m no kid anymore). I spotted a vendor, our eyes locked, and she reeled me in. After very little haggling, I purchased a large and small version for about three dollars, if I did my conversion correctly.

When I got home last week I did a little internet research and learned that I had bought a da cau. One online encyclopedia tells me that the da cau is the national sport of Vietnam. There are a variety of versions with different names that are played across Asia, but Vietnam is where it all started 25-hundred years ago.

So the family took our new toy to the back yard. We soon learned that the traditional hacky sack circle was too small for the da cau. I don’t know if the da cau is heavier or more aerodynamic than the hacky sack, but a nice kick sends it farther, and with a bit more practice, I suspect the feathers will aid in accuracy. Also, the stack of curved disks at the bottom of the da cau acts as a spring, and delivers a satisfying pop when you connect solidly. I haven’t mastered the over the shoulder heel kick yet. But our new da cau has been a great reason for our family to stand around the backyard after dinner to play and laugh and visit. And that’s certainly worth three dollars.

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