Bowling is back! DUMBO can begin anew!
If you follow my stuff you are probably aware of the fact that me and my group of friends go a little bit nuts for bowling. It was our favorite group activity and we took it to the next level by having championship belts, medal, made up a game called tag-team bowling, and had a stuffed animal turkey called the "gobbler" awarded to whoever gets 3 strikes in a row.
We were devastated when the ability got taken away from us by Covid back in April. It's hard to imagine that it has been that long but we are finally allowed to return to the lanes and we actually found out about it completely by happenstance.
A few DUMBO members were sitting a local bar one day when we overheard a random person a few seats away talking to a friend about how they "went bowling a couple of days ago" and how much fun it was. All this time our usual lanes that used to sponsor us has been telling us that the government had not given them the green light to reopen so we just assumed that this applied to all bowling alleys. Apparently the rule doesn't apply to all bowling alleys because this guy, who we previously didn't know, was absolutely correct. There was a bowling alley on the other side of town that was in fact open.
It's called Paradise Bowling and none of us even knew that it existed. They don't advertise or appear on maps programs and since it is on the other side of town an in a pretty run-down and unused shopping mall there wasn't much chance that we were ever going to stumble upon it. We were lucky to overhear that conversation that day. As it turns out this place has been open for over a month and I have no idea why the rules don't apply to them... maybe the rules don't actually exist and the other lanes is just using it as an excuse to stay closed? I can't imagine why they would do that but you never know in this place man.
We were basically the only people there: Only 2 other people came in the entire time we played so this can't be a great money maker for the owners of the lanes. The seating areas at Paradise Bowling is superior to our old spot as are the overall conditions of the lanes. I bowl with a "hook" so an improperly oiled lane can seriously fuck up my game. All of the lanes were properly and identically oiled. The machinery is also apparently newer because at our old lanes we would frequently get bad racks. We didn't have a single misrack the entire time we were playing at Paradise.
The staff were attentive, the hand dryers worked, towels were provided for each lane, the ball return machine always worked and also didn't throw the balls at you at high speed endangering your fingers and the music was at a reasonable volume - which is quire rare for Vietnam. Everything seems perfect so far, right? Well Paradise Bowling has seriously effed up in a very important way that will likely eliminate them from ever being our permanent stomping ground and I can't believe that it is like this
There was only 5 of us that went this time including myself and we seriously struggled to find bowling balls that we could fit our hands into. Some of the holes were so small that I can't imagine an adult human having fingers that small. This was true with the heavy as well as the light bowling balls intended for children. There was probably 80-100 bowling balls in the racks but we couldn't even find 5 with holes big enough for us - we had to share.
Now I realize that your average Westerner is larger than your average Asian just generally speaking but it's not like we are all a bunch of superhuman, Andre the Giant type people. We are just above average height and weight people. One of the members of our group is actually smaller than the average Vietnamese person yet even he struggled to find a ball his hand would fit in.
This is a really big problem and it is such a damn shame because this will make it impossible for us to ever have large scale events here the likes of which we had in the past where we would turn up with 30 people and occupy every single lane. It simply couldn't be done if we are sharing the 7 balls they have in the entire lanes that we could use.
We were all a bit worried about being rusty but in the end we were all quite surprised and impressed with how well we did. I know that a real bowler isn't going to think these scores are anything special but to us, we weren't really expecting to break 100 after so much time away.
The highest score of the day was 154 and as far as the skill level of the people I roll with are concerned, this is a very good score. We plan on going back next Thursday and every week after that. Next week we will have a Vietnamese person with us that can communicate with the staff about the ball issue. We are hoping that it is a just a question of there being some adult size balls in the back or something because if it isn't, we won't really be able to use this place.
In the meantime we are just delighted to be able to go and do this again and it will soon become the highlight of our weeks again.
Damn - those finger holes!! LOL. 😆 Yup - looks like you're still up in Vietnam. My Thai daughter too, has ridiculously slim & small fingers.
Great that at least some things are open & you're getting out & about.
Man it has been TOO long since the last bowling adventures. It is fascinating to me to see how each country deals with case counts an how that negatively or positively impacts frivolous social gatherings like sport. Of course these are more essential than they are frivolous when it comes to happiness and activity.
I am cheering for you from Canadia and KNOW that you will be posting soon with the belt! Just need bigger balls. ;)
lots of "balls" comments coming out haha. I felt that was going to happen when I was writing this.
I'm not sure if our bowling alley still exists, let alone being allowed to be open. Bowling was a strange phenomenon in Thailand... it was wildly popular when I first got here with almost every shopping mall having some lanes. Chiang Mai was reduced to just one about 5 years ago and now I am not sure if that one is still around.
Place looks pretty great though. Hope you can get your ball problem sorted out.
I think you are spot on as far as Thailand is concerned and their temporary fascination with bowling. When I lived in Krabi they built a bowling alley there which was very surprising because it was a city of just over 40,000 people, which would be more than enough in USA but in Krabi? Not so much. We went on a regular basis and of course it was wildly popular when it first opened but I don't think they even made it a year.
Many years ago I went to another bowling alley in MBK in Bangkok and they had the biggest bowling alley I had ever seen in my life on the top floor. It was a weekend and there was barely anyone there. I was thinking to myself "how can this be economically viable?" I would be very surprised if it is still there.
Lanes are no small investment either. We were looking it up the other day about how much it would cost you to have two lanes in your own house and for a 2-lane setup including all the gear and computers is nearly $100,000 US. I would imagine because of the scarcity of wood in Thailand and other SE Asian countries that this figure is even higher over here.
I didn't know Asian people had such small balls!
Sorry, I had to make this joke.
Glad you found a bowling alley, that is actually open. I remember you writing about bowling in the past.
I can relate to the balls with small holes story, even though I don't think I ever bowled outside of The Netherlands and I am ( an average sized ) Dutch guy, 6 foot 1. My hands might be slightly bigger than average though.
I think if I ever would go bowling in Portugal, where I live now, the size of the holes in the balls might not be the biggest problem but finding shoes my size ( 45/ 46 ) might be more of a challenge.
yeah the shoes thing is a problem as well here. The largest size they have is a US 12 and me and one other person wear 13s. I don't know what that is in cm but you would have to squeeze into them almost certainly.
I just did a conversion and I probably would have size 12 or 13 too.
Sounds you like may have found a place to restart the informal league again, but it definitely looks like they'd have to overbore some fingerholes first.
I've been in dozens of bowling alleys in SE Asia and I have never seen a ball supply like this. On the first rack I chuckled, the second one got a grin out of me, by the 3rd rack I started to get worried, by the time I got to the 4th I was checking every single ball and started to wonder if we were even going to be able to play.
I think they focused on having sexy looking colors on the balls rather than whether or not they could actually be used.
⋆ ᴛʜᴇ ᴘʟᴀᴄᴇ ғᴏʀ sᴏᴜᴛʜᴇᴀsᴛ ᴀsɪᴀɴ ᴄᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ ᴏɴ ʜɪᴠᴇ
⋆ sᴜʙsᴄʀɪʙᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇ ᴀsᴇᴀɴ ʜɪᴠᴇ ᴄᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪᴛʏ
⋆ ғᴏʟʟᴏᴡ ᴛʜᴇ ᴀsᴇᴀɴ ʜɪᴠᴇ ᴄᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪᴛʏ ᴠᴏᴛɪɴɢ ᴛʀᴀɪʟ
⋆ ᴅᴇʟᴇɢᴀᴛɪᴏɴ ʟɪɴᴋs 25 ʜᴘ⇾50 ʜᴘ⇾100 ʜᴘ⇾500 ʜᴘ⇾1,000 ʜᴘ
The giant hand against the bowling ball literally makes me feels like a dwarf 😂 wait I think it's generally how Asian bowling alley do? I'm not a bowling guy, but the last time I went, I had similar problem even with the large ball, the damn hole is still too small for my average Asian hand.
giant hand? That's my hand! haha. Another issue we were facing with the balls that do have big enough holes is that they were really heavy. If I had my choice I would bowl with a 10 or 11 lb ball, but at these lanes you gotta take what you can get!
You should really just reach out to the management and see what they can do about it. If they want the business, they would more than likely do some things to accommodate you. That is really awesome that you maybe found a new place. The real question is: were the beer prices cheap? That is the real selling point isn't it? :) Did the guy who mentioned it to you end up joining the league?
strangely, the guy who told us about it wasn't interested in joining the league. I think the days of DUMBO being so huge we had to book the entire business are well behind us. 80% of the previous members moved away and these lanes wouldn't be able to accommodate 30 westerner sized westerners. We went with 10 people this past week and I had to wear shoes 1 size smaller than I would normally wear because they didn't have enough western sized shoes. If we were to turn up with more than 10 (we used to average around 30) there would be no chance they would have enough gear for us.
I don't mind sharing a ball, but I'm not going to swap out shoes each frame.
The beer was the same price it is at a bar, which means less than a dollar.
Ah, that sucks about the shoes. At least you had a good time and things were kind of back to normal for a bit.