Thursday, November 24, 2005

Vietnam: Day 3; October 24th
Boys playing a board game not unlike the concept of Parcheesi...this was taken during the lunch 'hour', which ranges from 11:30 to 1:30, when everything stops and people gather to have lunch and a moment of leisure to beat the intense sunlight and heat during that time of day.

Cyclos are popular, three-wheeled vehicles that are driven by pedal power. Many of the drivers were doctors, lawyers, scientists and writers who were impoverished as a consequence of the war and ensuing Communist rule. Their intellectual level and knowledge of English make them the ideal impromptu tour guides. Most of cyclos are rather quaint and basic - constructed mainly of wood, but this one had a lot of chrome and 'bling' and just commanded to be photographed.

The noonday light and heat can be overwhelming. After a short lunch in a small cafe a few blocks away, I treated myself to some ice cream and tea. Actually, the tea was a bonus, and came with the ice cream. If I recall correctly, the flavors were (left to right) Taro Leaf, Papaya, Red Bean and Green Tea. The pink and white package in the back is a wet wipe. Wet wipes are very popular and handed out as typically like chopsticks. This is probably in account of lack of clean drinking water - and makes it easier to keep personal hygiene at optimum standards. Yes, I'm writing in my journal...

The cornucopia of foods and color at the vegetable section of the Ben Thanh Market. The Ben Thanh Market is a huge public space that is packed with cramped alleys and corridors within one huge building - selling wares from shoes, fabrics, home accessorizing materials, dried foods, meats and fruits. There were overpowering smells, especially from the salted fish and residual glues and chemicals to hold the shoes together. I found two gorgeous lamps that are now glowing rich hues of purple and deep red in the apartment as I type this....


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