It is winter, midday, the sun’s shadow glows through the polluted claustrophobic clouds. Trudging through the overpopulated markets of Ho Chi Minh city Vietnam, crowded walkways are filled with overdressed vietnamese trying to lure in tourists to their homemade stalls. Sensing their frustration as the little people try to scavenge their livings of the rich tourists who are looking for a cooled snack.
Look. The building tips merging into the low polluted cloud is like being stuck in a cramped prison. from the streets it is very intimidating but welcoming at once because as you focus back down you get an amazing sight of colourful rainbow like fruits, foods and stalls of the vietnamese people selling away their livings. Now strolling through the markets gazing at other tourists with their singlets and hats on sweating and laughing happily at the bargain they just scored. It’s like walking through an overgrown jungle with mountains of people and fun vibes.
Tastes. Slurping down a little homemade ice cold tropical juice from a tiny sidestreet hovell to wash away the betraying taste of the humidity in the air. Standing, letting this juice quench my thirst and roll over my sweetened taste buds as I take one more sip. Now biting into my succulent banana crepe overflowing with melted gooey chocolate chips while waiting in line for another flavorful juice.
Feels. Touching. Market stalls filled with fresh fruits and foods. Now, physically touching the prickle ripe mit ( jackfruit ). Green and sharp these fruits are in every stall, sitting there waiting for tourists like us to come snatch them. Now feeling this juicy ripened mango that I can’t wait to consume with my smooth wooden handmade spoon that perfectly slides into my grip. As my nerves tickle at the satisfaction of these two beautifully paired objects I feel the crave for the dripping squishy mango fruit.
Hiking into the small food market we are welcomed with a xin chao by a little vietnamese man holding a menu. We are instructed to order a meal by this impatient vietnamese. The menu consists of chicken, beef or pork PHO ( which is there famous cuisine ). I order a beef PHO and the man return to the sidestreet kitchen where they have a stove and dishwasher in the gutter. Watching them make their famous food is very inspirational as you can see the skills they have when they toss the food around in the the noi crock ( vietnamese for crockpot ) and seem to land it all back in the same pot everytime.
Smells. Sweating, Inhaling the smell of the vietnam culture. Gutter sewage merging with a homemade rice meal creating a smell of its own, vietnam’s own. The smell of the streets in vietnam is very unique to anywhere else, one moment there will be a hot steem of soup flushing out of a cafe whereas next moment there will be a greasy smell of sewage combined with rubbish flooding up from under our feet.
Soon. I will be strolling the streets once again to find the fancy hotel decorated with bright colours and lavish like appearances