Finding out what life is all about in Saigon…
Ha, Hoa, and I finished off our delicious bowls of pho soup I was writing about in my previous post, and now it was time to stop being slackers, get off our butts, and take a stroll around the area. Obviously Ha and Hoa knew where they were going…it was their neighborhood, but for me, each corner we turned was a new sense of adventure! Here in Saigon’s District 9, there aren’t a lot of foreigners, so you begin to feel kind of like a rock star when everyone is smiling and waving at you. I can honestly say it was pretty fun feeling like the celebrity in the crowd!
After about 10 minutes of walking in and around the narrow, potholed streets, we came upon one of the local street markets. I love walking through these, and seeing all the different fruits, vegetables, meats, and fish that we would never typically see in any of our grocery stores here in the US. Our mission this mid-morning was to come up with some fresh fish, and some tasty veggies for lunch later in the day.
Ha and Hoa, I would come to find out later, were excellent cooks, and very selective shoppers. All the particulars had to be at their freshest. We slowly wandered through the market as Hoa judiciously stalked out the ingredients she and Ha would use for our next meal.
It wasn’t all seriousness, though, while we were in search of our food. We were able to take time out and have fun, talking to the local vendors while we shopped, getting many of them to laugh and pose for photos.
It was around this time that I stood there thinking to myself, that times like these are what life should be about. Take all the smells and fragrances of the market in, share smiles with one another, wander dreamily through winding, mud puddle filled streets from the rain of an early morning shower. Bond with people, share friendships even if our languages aren’t common. This is what we should be doing, this is how we need to experience life, these are the moments we could be living for. District 9 was giving me an inner peace I hadn’t felt in a long time, like life was slowing down, and I didn’t have a care in the world. Why can’t every day be like this I thought, as we made our way back to Hoa and Ha’s home.
Life doesn’t need to be about how fancy our car is, how big a TV we have mounted on the wall, who has the biggest house or the most toys. World travelers get it, it’s the feeling of belonging, the feeling of bonding with people, people from anywhere, and everywhere, having the sense of adventure, being in a new land, trying new food, sometimes spending the night sleeping on a floor, taking showers with buckets of cold water, having a beer or beers with our friends and mates…these are the things in life we need to be prioritizing. I could have stayed forever in that moment, in that market, laughing the day away, or wandering around those muddy streets stomping in mud puddles, smiling with my two friends that know the true meaning of life. The meaning that friendship, caring about one another, sharing moments, laughing, smiling at one another, this is what life truly is all about.
Don’t forget, you can always click on any of my smaller photos in my posts to enlarge them in a new window!