Ross Cleary, a Scot, is now a teacher intern at a secondary school in Hồ Chí Minh City.
He depicts his walk to a local park one Thursday morning in this story.
A 10.30 am finish on a Thursday morning seemed like the perfect time to take a walk to my local park to read a book and enjoy the beautiful rays from the Sài Gòn sun – and it was.
I packed up my belongings (a book, water and some SP40) and headed to the park a mere 300 meters away.
I walked out the exit of my school to be greeted by the smile of a man who sits outside the local coffee shop hour after hour, day after day, smoking cigarettes and drinking his Cafe Sữa Đá (excuse my inaccuracy in Vietnamese writing) and enjoying his own city pass him by.
As I continued to walk I witnessed a security guard taking a nap on his motorcycle, a family of 4 riding a motorcycle and a man with a hammer, “fixing” his motorcycle.
After spending half an hour crossing the road with the help of a generous lady selling shoes, I made it to the park.
I was sitting, quietly reading my book and then out of the corner of my eye I saw two elderly gentlemen walking backwards in unison.
As they walked past me, one looked at me and said:
“Hello, where are you from?” (continuing to simultaneously walk backwards with his friend).
“Scotland” I replied.
“Ahhhhhhh, in England!”
As I did not want to correct this interesting gentleman.
“Ahhhhh, ManchesterCity, Mario Balotelli, very crazy….see you”
And then he walked off into the distance, enjoying the rays and the company of backwards trekking partner.
I read for another hour, and then, out the corner of my eye appeared the 2 gentlemen, they had switched sides, but still walking backwards, this time I was greeted with a friendly smile, a nod and a “Mario Balotelli”.
Satisfied with my day, I finished my chapter and headed back home.
I enjoyed the exact same travel from the park to the school as I did from the school to the park, greeted at the entrance of my school by the man drinking his Cafe Sữa Đá, smoking his cigarette and enjoying his own city pass him by.