We went out on the shuttle bus this morning, to spend time in the city by ourselves. We planned to rediscover old haunts and get one or two bits and pieces along the way. Rather than give a blow by blow account, let me share one or two things we saw.
Laser cut pop up cards are everywhere. The ideal item for a street seller, they’re light and easy to carry, though these two didn’t look as though they intended carrying them anywhere for a while.
The traffic. Though we think there are possibly fewer scooters on the road now than there were, we could be mistaken. There are more cars, for sure. Still crossing the road is fairly straightforward if you take a deep breath and keep on walking. No one will run you over!
Colour! In this case, prayer scripts in the Chinese temple yesterday afternoon, but really, everywhere!
Incense coils hanging from the roof of the Chinese temple. They intrigued me when I was first here and they continue to do so.
The scooter park. How on earth would you find yours?
Fabric in the market. So much of it. So little I’d even consider buying. Mostly polyester remainders from manufacturing clothes for the Asian market.
Downtime in the market when business is slow.
Business seemed to be really, very slow.
Face masks for women who ride scooters.
Long gloves and socks for the same people.
Because though we might favour a light tan, Vietnamese women prefer to stay as pale as they can. They cover up completely whilst riding their scooters, mostly wearing a kind of apron over their legs, a hood or scarf over their head (beneath their crash helmet), long gloves and a face mask. The woman in blue above, seemed to have it all stitched up in one garment.
Men playing a game on the side of the pavement.
Another stall holder making use of the excellent wifi service that is available here. Even the tour buses are equipped.
A shop selling paper lanterns. The kind of thing which would make me squeal to a halt and rush and take photos. Except I’m not driving (thank goodness) and can’t.
The Saigon Opera House. Where Tra played the first concert we came to.
The new metro which is being built in the centre of the city.
The terrible building site everyone has to cross to go anywhere.
Paintbrushes and other artists’ materials on sale on the street.
The ribbon and trimmings store next door.
An elderly woman going about her business.
Racks and racks of clothing in the market.
Model ships – here in the market but also out in shops in town. Remember the Top Gear programme filmed in Vietnam?
More fabric I didn’t want to buy.
A bunch of elderly ladies shouting something at the Town Hall, carrying what seemed to be protest banners.
And a group of bemused policemen and army officals watching on.
Oh, and did I mention the traffic?
Saigon is such a vibrant city, full of energy and life, much of which is taking place right there under our noses. From the minute we arrived in 2007, we loved it and this short stop has reminded us quite how much.
This is what we love most of all: The Vietnamese people.
So happy to be back!