Vietnam is endlessly fascinating. Because it is Vietnam of course. But mainly because its people are polite, energetic, entrepreneurial, curious, engaging and well, just Vietnamese. They are charged up about building their country and raising their standard of living in the pell mell pursuit of the West. Fortunately they are not completely corrupted by that madness and suburbs and districts of Ho Chi Minh City retain their essence. Like Cholon, an essentially Chinese part of town, which is a magnet to those who want to get away from Graeme Green’s Quiet American part of town. I cannot recall all the symbols and codes of the street but this one is pretty easy. Set up shop on a busy corner or some other spot where there is plenty of bike traffic (any and every street) and hang out your tile. Which in this case is an old tyre, marking the repair facility for anything that suddenly goes wrong with your pedal or 2 stroke powered bike. A bowl of water conveniently is placed near the kerb to help check for punctures. The proprietor is sitting back against the wall with his leather bound tool kit carefully guarded at his feet. I wonder if he watches tyres – there are plenty of them in view at any given time!
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