Jun 19, 2008


Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh City) reminds me of Queens with scotters, except there might be more people here who speak English. It's a no-
nonsense city with little elegance, filled with hard working people making a living everyway you can imagine and many ways you can't. The few beggars I saw look like they really need help, crime seems low and most everyone is honest. The food is good but challenging for a vegetarian; I did break down and have chicken pho one night. The poor quality of meat was a disappointing way to break 15 years of pesco vegetarianism. If you can find it, the tofu is much better.

Saigon was less polluted than I was expecting given all the scotters. It had few strange smells, the weather was like summer in New York City, and the pace overall is only slightly less frantic. A great deal of life happens on the streets, especially meals. There are endless street vendors serving great food for pennies, but more than that are all the people who eat their home-cooked meals on the street and even on their scotters. There are few casual street meals in New York, it's all elegant sidewalk tables at restaurants and cafes. Whenever I walk around New York eating I always get strange looks like I'm breaking Section 101 in the Consumption Code that somehow all New Yorkers but myself are aware of. The only rule of consumption in Vietnam seems to be to enjoy.

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