Guest post by Anh Dat Truong in Saigon, Vietnam.
Saigon is always a city with unexpected joys. Last Saturday, Camille and I had a good sketching time in a street market, a place that caught my attention before, when I stopped there to eat a delicious My Quang. Even if I am used to open market, which you can drive through and buy things without stepping out of your bike, this street is a brand new experience: the whole street itself is a market. Every family uses their house as a small store selling from vegetables to shoes and clothes. With the curiosity of seeing how the market shapes up, I got up at 5 AM, filled ink to pen, grabbed my sketch bag, then hopped on my motorbike, started the exciting journey. As I finished taking some Saigon morning photos, which are so rare for a night owl like me, I got to the market when some families were preparing for new day.
How small can your business be? Well, any size. It could be a small shop in a house. Or it could be only two bags of vegetables and a brick to put them on. I found myself having a nice talk with an old lady and bought half of the goods she had for 10k VND (about US $0.40). As my grandma does, she secures her money in the pocket with the pin. Such a familiar feeling in this modern city.
Or you can put all your goods at the back of the bike like this sweet melon seller.
And if you live near the market, you just grab three chairs: one for pineapples, one for jackfruits and one for yourself.
A utility pole can be a perfect place to set up a fried fish cake stand. The stove then can be hidden from the wind.
A guava seller and her bicycle. I bought two.
The salt seller put a lot of salt bags on his cart and cycled around while shouting out loud “Muoi day” [“Here is salt”].
After having ourselves a good bowl of hu tieu and banh my bo kho, we had our eyes closer at the seafood store.
What came unexpectedly was when we talked with our “characters.” They burst out into joy. It was such a beautiful smile!
The first time we came here, we were strangers. Now everybody in the street can recognize Camille, and they know that she is also half Vietnamese. Unknowingly our works could bring relaxation for those ladies on such an intensely hot day on the street; however, after this visit we certainly would love to meet more people on our future journeys.
Anh Dat Truong is an urban sketcher who lives in Ho Chi Minh City. "I have been sketching for two years. Most of my drawings are about people where I live or when I'm traveling. So along with scribbles, notes and train tickets, sketches help me remember what made me so happy at that time."