đi bộ – Walk Saigon
A year stretched endlessly before I left the UK, now, suddenly 6 weeks have passed so quickly I feel it will be no time at all before I’m packing my bags to go home. So I more determined than ever to try to squeeze as many experiences as I can between the mundane facts for earning some money. Though even that is an experience. Teachers here are far higher in the social scale than back home so it really is a joy to teach, everyone wants to learn English.
Coconut milk for sale
Since arriving in Vietnam I have not been out of Ho Chi Minh city. But then it is so vast that even from the 13th floor of a central city tower there is no discernible end. A city for over 3 weeks would have filled me with horror at home, but somehow it has become a very acceptable way to live.
Colourful streets around the Jade Emperor’s Pagoda
May be because constant warmth means much of life is spent outside, though I have had to escape back to the cool of an indoor cafe and AC at times. And just now, it is pouring down, thunder is rumbling around, lightening is flashing over the construction cranes. Storms disappear as quickly as they dash in, there is a near certainty it will be over in an hour leaving pavements steaming and puddles fighting over all too random drains.
Need a part for your bike?
An aimless wander with my camera can effortlessly capture images so different from home. ‘Di bo’ walk – is one of the few phrases of Vietnamese I have mastered. Motorbike taxis and rickshaw drivers quite convinced that I need a lift somewhere. Occasionally the wandering will have a purpose and I’ll make it to a museum, monument or Pagoda.
The Jade Emperor Pagoda
My second attempt eventually got me to Jade Emperor Pagoda. Only when I had managed to get my iPhone fully functioning, when my sadly ‘reliant on technology’ self managed to negotiate my way down the side streets to find it. Ashamedly, I admit with a paper map I had managed to miss it completely.
Only built in 1909 this Chinese temple feels as if it has been here for eternity. Lit by a small stream of worshipers, Incense smoke thickens the air. Inside larger than life papermache statutes of grotesque gods parade besides the Jade Emperor. Intricate wood carvings line the walls and the Gods dance on roof top balustrades alongside brilliant green tiles.
Curiously a large pool outside is filled with turtles. Taoism believes that having a turtle with protect the house it is in. Sadly this has encouraged the sale of turtles outside the temple.
Time for another walk – đi bộ
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