Waking up at 5am is usually a surefire sign that you’re still suffering from jetlag… except in Vietnam, where it means that your body has properly adjusted. This country gets going earlier than any other place we’ve visited. It took some time, but once we accepted and embraced the early lifestyle, our experience in Saigon improved immeasurably.
All we did was cross the bridge from downtown Chau Doc, and everything changed. The people looked and sounded different, had a different style of dress and a different religion. We had arrived in Chau Doc’s Cham Village… and it had nothing to do with the Vietnam we’ve come to know.
In our neighborhood, there aren’t many supermarkets. Even that’s an overstatement; there actually isn’t a single supermarket anywhere near us. So we’ve had to become familiar the local market, or “chợ”. And the market’s vendors have had to become familiar with us. Trust is a two-way street, people… and Saigon’s markets are worlds unto themselves.