Friday, September 17, 2010

Saigon...an early morning stroll

On the last day of our Vietnam trip I was up early as a lark. Too early for the morning breakfast,
I decided to take a solo morning walk around the vicinity of our hotel. It's always interesting to explore sections of a city at different times of a day.
There I was before the city dwellers had stirred from their previous night's slumber.
I attracted some curious stares from some early birds as I looked at how a city slowly awakens.

Most shops were not opened for business yet. That would come later. The streets seemed empty
of the usual dense traffic. I was able to cross the road and streets without any problem. What I saw and felt reminded me very much of what Singapore used to be maybe 3 decades or more ago. There's an old world charm still alive in the city of Saigon where the humdrum of daily living carries on as the city struggles towards modernisation.


Here you see a tall building, still under construction as a future hotel.
This hotel should come with all the modern facilities and comfort as we know it today.
But the neighbourhood and surrounding vicinity will not enjoy the same degree of re-making...yet.
It will require a lot more foreign capital and investments to transform the existing infrastructure.
In this connection, Singapore has played a major part in helping Vietnam to get into the global grid.

As I continued walking the paved sidewalks along the streets, I was hoping to see some street pedlars of food,
of souvenirs or just about anything. But it was not to be. Either I was too early or another reason
prevailed. Asking around, I discovered that the local authorities in their planning, had ensured that such neighbourhoods where there is a large concentration of upscale hotels should be free from hawkers and street pedlars..most of whom are illegal.
Sounded like S'pore when our Hawkers and Markets Dept went on constant raids and ambushes
to catch our own illegal hawkers. I'm certain many of us older ones have witnessed countless episodes of such incidents in the past.


After my leisurely wandering, I returned to the hotel for a quick breakfast before hitting
the streets again...this time headed for the local Market place.
By then, traffic had picked up somewhat as you can see.
Today, helmets for all motorcyclists and pillion riders are compulsory.
But I noticed most of the helmets being used are shaped like a hat.
They are not the stringent types we are using in S'pore.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Unkle Dicko,

> up early as a lark.
> stares from some early birds.

It is not strange for "The Wise Old Owl" to write in his own lingo. Haha!

unk Dicko said...

You have eagle-sharped eyes!
Touche!