Sepak Takraw - Asian Foot Volleyball. Yeah. Link in to watch.

I first saw this sport in the native Hmong tribe villages in the north of Thailand on a trek during my honeymoon. It is not as exotic as it sounds. We wore Keens; the rest of the tourists brought sandals and hiking boots to change through as we transferred from trail to waterfall and so on. The guide - he wore plastic flip flops, pointed out where tribesmen had ridden mopeds up the trail bringing in food and water, and picked a beetle out of a tree (about 3 inches), hooked him to his shirt, and uttered 'snack' by way of explanation.

When we got to the camp/village, the guide set the women to make dinner and pulled out a wicker ball about the size of a regulation softball. The wicker was woven like a loose basket so the ball is totally hollow. If you listen in the video, you can hear the sound - like kicking a rattan ottoman. The white folks jumped in for a try. The rest of the world had a shot at this game having played soccer since their youth. I had no chance because I had not. Still I tried, picking up pointers from a tribesman who had sustained an injury years earlier and now hobbled on one good leg and used the poorly healed one to strike. Years of practice made him very very good.

And then there was dinner where I had to ask where the spicy food was. The Hmong pointed back to his house and brought out a few morsels. I am pretty sure his food works like an insect repellent pill. Anyone else remember the bug zapper Tabasco ad? That.

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