Taking it to the Streets

For the Vietnamese , there’s much more to life than what’s inside the four walls they call home.

In contrast to the often sterile and deserted neighborhoods of the West where life is lived almost exclusively behind closed doors, Vietnam’s cramped city dwellings and a powerful sense of community means life here seamlessly spills out onto the streets. Wander along any of the city’s many avenues and back alleys and you’ll discover people on the pavement animatedly huddled around a game of Chinese chess, getting their hair cut (and ears cleaned), washing vegetables and clothes or simply and unabashedly sprawled out for a midday nap.

In Ho Chi Minh City, all kinds of work that we, as Westerners, would expect to find “inside” workshops and garages take place “outside” right on the sidewalk – motorcycle and bicycle fixing, welding, carpentry and shoe repair. Needless to say, the Vietnamese are not self-conscious; they are very relaxed about putting their life on display. They just do whatever they need to do, whenever they need to do it and wherever they need to do it. And these were the candid moments our photographers captured.

Cover Story-Taking It To The Streets-20

Beautiful in its vibrancy, honesty and at times grittiness, street life is alive and well and remains an intrinsic thread to the fabric of the city.

Images by Quinn Ryan Mattingly & Nam Quan

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1 thought on “Taking it to the Streets”

  1. When I arrived in HCMC I thought ‘well of course I’ll live in one of those bright shiny towers with a pool and a view’ until the afternoon we sought a shady spot for a coffee in the back streets of Q1. How incredibly open and friendly those alleys are. To wander and discover there is like an endless virtual world. The people are so unselfconscious and it makes me less self conscious. That’s a gift. As so many expats say ‘getting lost is always rewarding in HCMC’. I’m in Sydney this week and I’m reminded just how sterile this virtual world is. My neighbours have just put up another wall, another one! I’ve watched this man and his sweet son for years – play ball in their garage, not in the park across the road. I thought he was unfriendly but I realized that he’s agoraphobic, scared of the public and these walls are only making his problem worse. Too bad he’ll probably never come to HCMC and probably won’t stray into its living, loving heart.
    HCMC I love you.

    Reply

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