Saigon's cool sleepers

TN News

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Last Friday, in a fit of sweaty sleeplessness, I decided to ride my bicycle along the river towards Binh Tay Market and deep into District 6.

Temperatures that day had reached into 35oC (95oF), setting the city's atmosphere of pork smoke, motorbike exhaust and humidity onto a simmer. Pores became faucets. Houses, ovens.

Even after the sun disappeared, the idea of going inside and trying to sleep struck more than a few as unreasonable.

 

All along the river and behind the market, residents had dragged their beds and lounge chairs out in front of their homes.

A few had strung mosquito nets as their only measure of protection, but many more lay out in the open air, tangled in blankets, twisted in pajamas. 

My favorite had abandoned his hammock for a wooden bike ramp, where he conked out in nothing but a pair of denim shorts.

In a town where chilling anecdotes often serve in place of crime statistics, it's nice to know that a good night's sleep can still be enjoyed on the sidewalk.

In these little ways, Saigon remains a softer city than the kinds of places it publicly aspires to become.

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