Motorcycles, Markets and More

Another week or so passes as I continue my routine in Saigon. Part of that routine is leaving my room twice a day for lunch and dinner. Usually I take my camera along and photograph the passing scene. I’ve noticed that some subjects frequently catch my eye: one being transportation, usually  bicycles or motorbikes…

bicycle on Ho Chi Minh City street, Vietnam

Using the Alternate Seat

This is a common sight. I’m not sure why so many people use a seat on the back rack.

Bicycles, or bicycle based vehicles, or used for hauling all kinds of loads…

fully loaded bicycle cart, Saigon, Vietnam

Bicycle with a Load

duster vendor with bicycle, Saigon, Vietnam

Broom and Duster Vendor

Or for portable knife sharpening.

bicycle with sharpening equipment, Saigon, Vietnam

Portable Sharpening Set-up

And they all move about in the crazy city traffic.

cyclo in rush hour, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Cyclo in Rush Hour

Tthere are also a variety of carts. The one below carries all the requirements for serving a meal, including a charcoal fire (just visible inside the cart).

food cart, Saigon, Vietnam

Moveable Feast

Or you can buy the raw goods from carts selling fruits and produce.

fruit vendor, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Grapes to Go

Motorcycles are utilized for all kinds of things. Like delivering towering plants.

plants on motorcycle, Saigon, Vietnam

Plant Delivery

In Saigon it’s law to wear a helmet on a motorbike. There’s a huge variety for sale. Unfortunately most of them do not meet any sort of safety standards. They’re often just a fashion statement.

motorcycle helmets for sale, Saigon, Vietnam

Selection of Helmets

And with so many bikes on the road there are numerous repair facilities – big and small.

roadside bike repairs, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Roadside Repairs

With the proliferation of motorbikes the kids start learning how to deal with traffic at an early age.

kids learning to ride two wheelers, Saigon, Vietnam

Diving In

I walk most everywhere but on a Saturday morning I went with Huy for coffee by the river and then to lunch with friends at his home. The ride to his place takes about 20 minutes. I edited the video below to under 4.

Torrential downpours can be a bother, even while walking.

torrential downpour, Saigon, Vietnam

Walking in the Rain

I’ve gotten into the habit of taking my Gore-Tex jacket and a hat in a waterproof bag whenever I go out. It can be nice and sunny one minute then black and wet the next.

It’s about a 15 minute walk to the backpackers’ quarter with its selection of restaurants. As I walk I take photos of the street life.

seamstress on street, Saigon, Vietnam

Seamstress on Sidewalk

I’ve been having problems with my camera’s shutter release lately. By the time I got the above photo the woman noticed me standing there. With her hat and mask hiding her face it was hard to tell how she felt about her photo being taken. The next day I went back and gave her a print. She pulled her mask down and was obviously very pleased. Sometimes I take candid photos; sometimes I ask. And if the photo’s decent I’ll go back and give the subject a print. Although it was a bit of a pain of first getting a portable printer and then bringing it here I’m glad I did.

ice delivery, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Ice Delivery

selling fish on the sidewalk, Saigon, Vietnam

Fish in Bowls

red meat sales, Saigon, Vietnam

Red Meat in the Street Market

colourful produce in street market, Saigon, Vietnam

Colours of the Market

One evening I ventured beyond my normal route to take a closer look at the growing (and glowing) Bitexco Financial Tower.

Bitexco Financial Tower, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Bitexco Tower

Along the way I spotted a night market.

night market, Saigon, Vietnam

Night Market

Evenings are a fascinating time to wander. It’s not quite as hot, or at least the sun isn’t beating down. Mornings and evenings – that’s when the streets really come alive. On Sept. 2, Vietnam’s National Day, I went out hoping to see the fireworks. However, they didn’t appear at the scheduled time so I returned to my room. Hours later I heard the loud booms so ran up to the rooftop terrace of my building where I caught the last few minutes of the the distant fireworks. And there’s that tower again…

National Day fireworks, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Fireworks through the Fence

There must have been some events for National Day but they didn’t advertise them at all for the tourists. I did hear a marching band practising a few days before the event. A couple of kids thought it was pretty interesting too.

children watching band practise, Saigon, Vietnam

Watching the Band

Most of the week I’m working away in my room but I decided I really did need to get out on Sundays. Within a half hour’s walk there’s a fairly large park where I found all kinds of activities taking place on a Sunday.

sword practise in Tao Dan Park, Saigon

Sword Practise

Spotting me taking the above photo a young man came over and told me that they were practising for a performance at a cultural centre later in the month. At one end of the park little people worked on their karaoke skills.

children on karaoke stage, Tao Dan Park

Kids Karaoke

And everywhere there were scouts. Sitting in groups or practising Scout things, like semaphore.

scouts in Tao Dan Park, Ho Chi Minh City

Scouts in Tao Dan Park

Just beyond the Scouts you can see a photography group working with a model.

photography group with model, Tao Dan Park

Men with Large Lenses

This seemed a common hobby as I saw many groups of photographers. Posing seems for photos seems to be a favourite pastime.

posing for photo, Tao Dan Park, Saigon, Vietnam

Posing with a Beast

And so it goes. Aaahhh… lunch approaches…. keep those cards and letters coming! I appreciate them all. Cheers!

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