Recently, moved into a new place. Its a huge house that currently has at least 12 residents - I'm still not sure actually how many people live there. Vietnamese houses tend to be stacked high and are very narrow. Turn off any main road into the maze of alleys and take a stroll and you will witness vietnamese life in action. Old men and women stretched out in hammocks or lying on their living room floors whlist watching the same costume drama pumped in from China (god its popular and it looks like a Chinese Dr Who). It's either that or some Korean soap opera which make Eastenders look especially undramtic. When your walking through these alleys you are often overshadowed by houses 4,5,6,7 stories high on both sides, and the path will only be a couple of feet wide. The air is trapped and deadly still in these spaces, the silence only broken by the noise of gameshows on TV, the whir of fans or the children charging around and around and around. I lie on my bed, throw open the doors to my balcony and listen to these sounds as I doze off for an hour in the afternoon. The sounds become so familiar that they blend together after a while.
These alleys are serviced by mobile vendors all day long. There are the men on bikes shaking rattles - thats if you want a massage. There are the guys who beat a rythum on a wooden block, thats for pho - or noodle soup. There are the people with carts selling fruits - easy to learn the vietnamese words for some fruits as the sound of the cry 'chuoi' (banana) is heard so often floating though the air. Banana, melons, jackfruit, grapefruits, buoi (don't know the english) seem to be the most common. Then there's the 'roof rabbits'. In other words, cats. I barely ever see them on the ground, they spend most of their time on high roofs. Houses are so close together they don't need to touch the ground to get around the city.
Enough for now. I will be writing again soon about my recent trip to Phu Quoc, just waiting to get the pictures developed first.