Posts Tagged ‘fun saigon’
Guess what he is thinking about:
a. Is my price increase from 5K vnd to 6K vnd a good decision?
b. Is my arrangement of coconuts attractive enough?
c. Do I look funny? Why is that guy taking pic of me?
d. Should I push my cart more into the opposite traffic to get customers?
Saigon…Fun all the time.
I have had my fair share of fights in Saigon. Girl on girl. Guy on guy. Guy on girl. Couple on couple. You name it. I have seen it. But never have I chanced upon a battle, where 2 gangs are using metal pipes on each other. In rush hour nonetheless.
I pulled out the camera and recorded as soon as I could but the fight ended as soon as it started. In retrospect, I dont know what is more macabre, the fact that we saw a few bloody faces or that we just stood there and nonchalantly watched it unfold.
I dont know what the hell is going on but most of the customers who buy fashion mags at my store are boys. How these little ambiguously gay Vietnamese boys know about Vogue or my little nondescript bookstore is beyond me. For the past week, 2 boys came in. One came with 3 giggly girls in taxi. The other by himself. Both inquired about Vogue subscription.
I never thought after all these years, I d be in Vietnam selling Vogue to some gay boys. In a way it is a validation of what I wanted to do all along, bringing knowledge to Vietnam. So to the gay of Vietnam, if you ever wonder whether “40’s is the look” or “Boots&Suits are back” you know where to go:)
Today as I waited for the electrician to replace the transformers,
I decided to do an experiment I had wanted to do for a long time. That is to measure how long it would take for my cardboard boxes to be collected by the gazillions of street scavengers here.
At 1:19pm I put them out.
For the next 4 minutes I waited in vain. At 1:24pm he came, an old man on a rickety bike wearing a fedora hat. Kindly he asked me if he could take the boxes.
At 1:25 the boxes were gone.
What can I say…Poverty sometimes is good.
There are various level of speed:
1. You go to a restaurant, order a dish, wait for the cook to whip it up and bring it out. That is nothing special (except for how quickly the food is cooked) and hence wont be discussed in this post
2. You drive to a restaurant. A cart is waiting with a bunch of dishes ready made. You sit there and wait for him to put it together and bring it to you. Total time=driving time+wait time
3. You walk outside your office. A cart is waiting with a bunch of dishes ready made. You sit there, wait for him to put it together and bring it to you. Total time=walking time+wait time
4. You walk outside your office. A guy is sitting there with a bunch of trays of several varieties. You pick one you like. Total time=walking time
Three more “mobile restaurants” across the street. Note how empty they are versus the previous one. Once again location is everything.
Near my house (marked as A) there are several streets which act as borders:
-#1 separates 2 wards.
-#2 and #3 separate 2 districts.
These streets are used extensively by street vendors for 1 simple reason: to avoid the ward cops, who patrol their ward like a jealous boyfriend. If they see a vendor on the street or pavement, they will confiscate everything. Unless, of course, a sizable bribe is procured. So these vendors strategically conduct their biz right on the border and at the first sight of cops, scurry away to the other side (which legally belongs to another ward and hence out of the pursuing cops’ jurisdiction)
So once in a while I see these vendors pushing their carts, dragging their tarps, putting metal to the pedal, their faces bloodless with fear, it almost makes me cry and laugh at the same time. Freaking Saigon..where tragic comedies are played out everyday.