Saturday, October 13, 2007

Surrendering to Sidewalks in Saigon

Things are slowing down.

I go into the newsroom around 7pm and get out around 2 am. So I can get out for a couple of hours during the day.

Which is a brave thing. To go out on foot in Saigon is a brave thing to do. Walking on the sidewalk is like walking through a host of living rooms and kitchens, since there are always lounging people to dodge, cooking people to dodge, broken cement, and of course the motorbikes, either parked or in motion. Throw in a couple of dogs, little kids, men walking around in pajamas (they're "retired" I hear, when I ask why a grown man is wandering around outside in his pajamas), coconut salesmen, cigarette saleswomen, mechanics, repairmen, street cleaners wearing conicle hats, and a cacaphony of assaulting sounds, and you have... not even the closest idea of what it is like, since the Vietnamese culture has successfully upended the Englisn language as a tool to describe it. More than a million words and they are all useless.

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