Today was my first day in Vietnam and the weather is great, but the tour book was right about the pollution. It is a little heavy. It must be the thousands of single cycle engine motorcycles that dominate the city. I wandered the neighborhood around the hotel and found this Buddhist pagoda just around the corner. Lucky for me because I am still nervous about crossing the streets. There are no traffic signals or signs to speak of, and it’s common for a cycle to go against traffic to take the most direct route. It reminds me of Rome and the endless line of Vespas speeding by.

I sat on the steps of a bank to draw and within seconds had an audience of security guards and pedestrians sitting and  watching me draw. They were very kind and often offered comments and suggestions to help me along. But since I don’t speak Vietnamese I tuned most of it out. But to my surprise, I kept hearing Cantonese phrases. And sure enough, thanks to Hong Kong cinema, we could communicate on a very basic level. How about that? After finishing the drawing some people helped me spell and pronounce the name of the pagoda. And shaking hands all around I headed off to eat a large bowl of Pho and a plate of grilled ribs. Only US$2.50!

Dia Giac Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh City
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