Bicycles selling ice cream and monolithic buses squeeze themselves down tiny avenues filled with shoppers and sellers of fruit, fish, meat, springs, tires, ladders, plants, and anything else one may need for themselves. These streets teem with motorbikes and bodies milling languidly about and the relief that’s provided by the heat comes in the form of cool understanding that we’re all in this together.
The way these giant buses manuver through bug colonies of commuters and entrepreneurs is astounding.
The colors of the women’s outfits rival any paint store spillage. Silky pajamas vibrant and billowy with reds and yellows, flowers and sunshine. I particularly like the cool practicality of mens’ styles I can only hope to soon call my own. Light button-downs and airy black slacks, wristwatches and sandals, thick black hair and motorbikes.
Inside, the buses play usually pleasant music and despite the rush hour crowd filling the vehicle to its last inch, there is no sense of anyone carrying the needless tension I find in the west.
Hawkers of everything from sunglasses to shoe shines, and especially motorbike taxis will be stunned when I respectfully decline in their native tongue and most will immediately engage me in conversation, usually about who I am and how I know Vietnamese. I surmise that though I may look like a foreign tourist, there’s something slightly different about myself in the eyes of these friendly people.