26 May 2010

City Verve

I got lost in the Bin Thang marketplace today. It's an explosion of trinkets, t-shirts, bags, fabrics, perfume, scarves, souvenir boxes, buddha figurines, candy, posters, shoes, purses, bracelets, paintings, plates, dresses, robes, and anything else you might want to buy cheap and haggle cheaper. I've never seen more stuff packed into one place before.

I met a friend: Lei Lei. She told me Tiger Beer t-shirts and wrote Vietnamese phrases in my journal. She kept passing me in the market and tapping my shoulder, saying "ello friend!"

The crowded marketplace is much like the crowded city streets of Ho Chi Mihn. It's a frantic environment- excessive signage, spiratic bursts of color, flashing lights, thousands of motos zooming by, crammed shops, street vendors yelling wildly into crowds and steam sizzling off food carts from every direction.

I met another friend, but I never did get his name, or much conversation out of him at all. He saw me walking, or attempting to walk, across the crowded street and came quickly to my aid. He left his moto alongside the brick wall of an alley and then darted into the street in front of me. He raised his arms up and held up his hands as if to stop traffic on both sides, never losing his steady pace. The zipping motos didn't ever stop for him, but they did manage to veer around him, and I followed closely behind to safety on the other side. When we got there he shook my hand with both of his, flashed me a toothy grin, and turned around with his arms up to cross back. Then he disappeared into the verve. 

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