Street Sweeping

Posted in the Daily Bits by Pho on the June 22nd, 2006

 (To Hector @ USC – thanks for covering me while I am away)

What time is it?

I hear street sweeping. Must be around 5 am. The street sweepers get up before the joggers. The joggers get up before the mad-house traffic. That’s how it works. Everyone runs here inSaigon. And everyone wants the front of their shops or residences cleaned by opening time. And by street-sweepers, I literally mean people who sweep the streets with brooms all – over the city – some are paid, and some are not.

It must have rained last night. The air smells crisp and cool. We slept with the balcony doors wide-open. My brother’s two bed-room apartment complex inSaigonis in lock-down mode past 12 am – no one can get in (at least not without a small bribe). The shirtless security guards were in a happy mood from the soccer game and rice wine, so they let us in for free.

I am in Vietnam alright.

So I must have slept for about 3 hours. Now I am wide-awake typing this. Last night I got the VIP treatment at Tan Son Nhat, namely getting through customs without any of the usual hassles. My uniformed childhood friend hugged me at the airplane door. I entered through the gate that said “Reserved for Diplomats”, escorted by my friend and another officer, passing long lines of justifiably worry-looking people. Visa-on-arrival took exactly 1 minute, but that’s only because they had to take a picture. It’s good to have grown up with a supervisor at a Vietnamese airport.

I got a long list of things I gotta do today. And by “things” I mean “incredibly tasty food”, and by “do” I mean “stuff my face silly until I giggle with bliss”. That should improve my mood from yesterday’s culinary experience on ANA’s cattle class. The street-sweeping sound just stopped. Time for a jog.