So much happens in the market each morning that I could write about just that. Here are a few stories from this morning:
I'm walking through the main strip as usual when a tiny woman carrying a basket on her head filled with rice, coconut and sugar spots me.
"Hello!" she says, and smiles an almost-toothless grin.
I return her hello and she laughs and laughs. Then she grabs my hand and grips it tightly, pulling me alongside her as she strolls down the alley, talking all the way.
All the vendors are laughing because she is so small and is gripping my hand so tightly that I'm bent over just trying to keep up with her. She does this for a long while - to everyone's extreme entertainment.
Then she lets go and says, "Goodbye!"
It really is rare for the older people here to know English, let alone speak it with confidence. She's pretty cool.
Another scene: Kids all over Vietnam absolutely love to say "hello" to foreigners. Sometimes the hello is joined by "how are you?" and we are constantly returning these very sweet greetings.
Today while I'm walking past the temple, two boys - about ten or eleven - see me and one whispers something into the other's ear. They both look at me and the one who was just dared (I'm guessing) blurts out "F**k!" (I censored that for my mom.) They are both a little horrified at their own courage, and they take off giggling down the alley, turning to catch my reaction. But I'm just laughing, so I'm sure that is a little disappointing.
Kids are so endlessly sweet here...I'm sure if an adult had been there, these boys would have been in big trouble. I know that some kids will grow up to be motorbike cowboys here, but I have yet to meet a good candidate for that.