A typical small entrepreneur on Saigon pavement. This man runs his coffee shop (in the background) in front of Hoa Binh elementary school, opposite to Saigon central post office from 7am to 11pm almost everyday.
These people make Saigon streets always have something happen, day or night. Not only coffee, they also sell foods, soft-drinks, post-card, or even fuel for Zippo lighters. These people are reasons why we don’t need 7/11, they sell almost everything we need.
Since the mid of the 20th century, Saigon has been being the biggest and most active city in Vietnam. Therefore, it’s very much attractive for farmers from the far North to the end South of Vietnam, who willing to abandon their rice field for an urban life since the countryside couldn’t feed them and their big family. Saigon accept them all. Till now, I think more than a half of this city’s population aren’t born in Saigon. That’s why the city’s streets are so deserted in Tet (new year) holiday because most of them must return to their homeland as Vietnamese tradition.
But urban life isn’t easy. Running business on pavements is illegal, they will have to run if there are Construction Inspectors on sight. If they get caught, they will be asked to hand over their mobile-shop, that’s everything. But there’s another way.The man in the photo choose to hand Inspectors black-money.
That’s another Saigon street life beside five star hotels and luxury malls, it has happened for a century and it’s going to be just like that in next century, I believe.
SaigonStay – All the best a local friend can give you!
Note: The foods and drinks may get you a food poisoning, it’s just we Saigonese have gotten used to it.