Backpacking Teacher

Travel, teaching and things in between. Saigon is the focus for now.

Oh it’s a wonderful life in Saigon

with 4 comments

the tavern phu my hung

A few days ago I felt like a bit of the old familiar so I headed off to the nearby expatty area of Phu My Hung. I zoomed off on my bike and in less than 5 minutes I was negotiating bike up the pavement and parking it outside The Tavern.

The Tavern, run by a Scottish bloke called Andy, is a small, cosy pub with cold beer, a good variety of pub grub and some fantastic outdoor seating from which to peruse the world going by. I ordered a large tiger (the beer, not the animal), pulled last weekend’s The Australian out of the paper rack and settled down outside. I cannot tell you how peaceful and relaxed I felt. For the thousandth time and, once again for different reasons, I felt vindicated by my decision to come live in Saigon. The air is fresh (mostly), this area of Saigon is quietish (without being too quiet), the beer is pleasant, I’m enjoying reading the news from home but also enjoying being somewhere, where, at this point in time, I feel like I’m on a constant holiday.

Around me life goes on. I particularly enjoy the sight of the beautiful Vietnamese women who pass by . They have such a regal way of riding their bikes. They sit bolt upright, arms straight on the handlebars and they swerve their bikes delicately through traffic the way I remember Guatemalan women back in Antigua swerved their hips through crowded merengue clubs. They seem so insouciant, so demure.

I settle back to my newspaper only to hear a whirring sound and look up to see a local whizzing by on roller-skates expertly avoiding the Vinasun taxi that turned into his path. On the other side of the taxi I see one of the old-hand, expat mothers, nonchalantly weaving her way through multiple bikes and cars heading slowly, deliberately and splendidly resolutely, into oncoming traffic as she heads across the road. It’s almost as if she doesn’t see the traffic. The traffic seems to know it’s role as it parts around her as if the red sea before Moses.

Around me the Tavern’s speakers crackle to life as Andy decides it’s time to crank up the tunes outside. As the sun begins to settle amongst the surrounding buildings I enjoy everything from the Cranberries (which, for me brings back bitter sweet memories) to Bob Marley (reminds me of a night I spent put on the town with my cousins in Rotterdam) to the 4 Non Blondes (my soundtrack when I travelled Southern China in the 90’s).

I’m having another perfect afternoon as the soundtrack of my life serenades me.


Written by backpackingteacher

March 3, 2009 at 8:03 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Dear backpackingteacher,
    Life at school is speeding up. Open Day approaches! as do the senior exams. I am getting too old for this caper…..I might join you in Saigon!
    Thanks for the letters, it is always great to read what you have been up to. It’s my little escape from reality for the day.

    Keep writiing, there is a book in this!
    Jen M

    Jen M

    March 5, 2009 at 7:16 am

  2. Jen…I’m glad you like reading the blog … things back at Schols sound like they’re humming along just fine (I do miss the old place) …. see you in Saigon!


    March 8, 2009 at 12:20 pm

  3. Such a well-written post. I was there with you.

    Expatriate Games

    March 24, 2009 at 7:34 pm

  4. Thanks EG 🙂


    March 26, 2009 at 5:56 pm

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