I am gently able to breath some cooler air again. The humidity is dropping - the sun is setting soon. I am leaving my house on foot, walking out of my compound, leaving the barking dogs behind. Crossing the busy road with dozens of motorbikes as rush hour has kicked in, listening to peeping sounds and market tenders, shouting something in Vietnamese to offer their food.
I continue slowly on a little side lane just until I meet the next busy road again. This road is particularly wide; the pavement is occupied with older men playing cards and local board games, some smoking a cigarette. Women are busy selling ‘Pho’ (noodle soup) and Banh Mi (baguette) to earn a living. I take another right and left turn to continue walking on a beautiful quiet road with huge colourful gates where massive private villas are hidden behind, most of them owned by upper class Vietnamese.
In-between small little sheds or should I call it cheap housing for the poor Vietnamese society with a typical neon lamp on the wall. Barely any furniture in them, except of a bedframe or if you were lucky possible even a mattress. A shared garden in front of them with a clothesline stretched from one tree to the other with dozens of colourful hangers and hand washed clothes on them to dry, so they could be worn the next day again.
Crossing another main road, I’m now in another particularly wide beautiful peaceful road, flanked with trees on both sides and an additional green strip in the middle, planted with beautiful palm trees. A few motorbikes passing by quietly, two men sitting on the right side sipping iced coffee. Older couples are walking in front of me, wearing runners instead of the usual flip-flops, and a granddad pushing a pram with his grandchild.
Reaching the end of the road, I am entering a small little area with a playground for children on the left side, numerous exercising machines on the right side that were all occupied and in the end there was a long-winded balustrade with the Saigon river in the back. I’m walking mindfully over there, standing on the balustrade and looking out onto the river. Three fishermen are on the right side, trying their luck to catch some fish and a young couple sitting to the right, chatting about their day. The river flows around a small Island in a U-shaped form with tropical lash green vegetation. Airplanes are slowly moving in the blue sky, becoming clearer as they are approaching the 12 Million metropolis of Saigon. Green plants, looking like water spinach, floating past. A boat with a few sealed containers is slowly passing by and vanishing in the far distance. The sky is changing colours as the sun sets. You can hear the noise of a squeaky old red rusty swing, where a little girl is swaying. Sounds of approaching and departing motorbikes are coming and going. What a peaceful and enjoyable spot this is to watch the sunset.
I’m leaving the park slowly; a bunch of young guys have started to play soccer outside the little park area on the left side. More people are walking towards the green space. People on bicycles are passing by, and some walking their dogs. I’m approaching the street again which is flanked with villas on either sides with beautiful colourful gates and massive trees. It looks very idyllic and the lush orange Tuscany wall on the right side makes it look like a photograph out of a book of fairy tales.
This is real, that is my favourite hour of the day in Saigon.