Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sisterhood Of The Traveling Boho Pants: Saigon Stroll

Oh how she has grown.

I watched her lips pucker as she sucked the life out of a ciggy. She was halfway her cup of ca phe sua nong. In between puffs, she sipped her coffee, and beamed each time. I reckon she's more hooked on the drip than I am. 

Along Bui Vien Street, Ho Chi Minh. Found a non la sitting on a motorcycle which I "borrowed".

Once upon a time there was a little girl under my wing. Afraid of the world, afraid of "grown up" decisions. Her rambles didn't take her beyond a fifty-kilometer radius from home. Those rare occasions when she did venture further, she was encapsulated in the comforts of private wheels. Or she was under someone else's watch.

That person in front of me clearly ain't her anymore.

Ho Chi Minh days always start and end with this heavenly brew.
She flew by herself to Ho Chi Minh from Singapore. Singapore's where her independence began months ago. Her expat life is something I encouraged and even initiated for her by signing up her name for overseas job openings. After many years of defying the body clock for call center work, she finally grew tired and accepted a job in the city of the Merlion.

Our first stop that afternoon. 
The relocation paved way for frequent holidays to different Southeast Asia countries. Her autonomy toughened her up. And for some reason, she developed a hunger for new knowledge that can only be acquired through travel. I could feel it in her curious queries that dug deeper than "Where can we buy souvenirs?".

Her autonomy toughened her up. Taken at the aircraft collection of the War Remants Museum.

After our brekkie in the hostel, the two of us set off for a walking tour in the city with a map on hand. Staying true to our cheapskate selves, we walked the whole five kilometers of our route. It was one of them strolls wherein the conversations weighed more than the backdrop.

Before the hippie freaked out at the sound of faint footsteps. Inside the mock of up of the notorious "Tiger Cages".
I find it fascinating how we discover ourselves and other people through travel. Moreover, the connection between us and our backpacking buddies. That afternoon wasn't about ticking items on a list of attractions. The setting was simply an accessory to a more fruitful purpose.

A car poses for my cam in front of the Saigon Opera House.
I watched her read up on history at the War Remnants Museum, chitchat with Mexicans in Jollibee, and navigate our way through the hectic streets. To top it all off, she didn't ask me to photograph her here and there. She was totally soakin' up the experience.

Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

That low-key Saigon stroll is one of my fave travel moments to date.

My work with Gabe is done. I couldn't be anymore proud. My sister's taking on the world like a boss. A boss with a ciggie in between fingers.


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