At around 7p.m. the other night, my husband and I had just pulled into the small parking lot beside Saigon’s Le Van Tam Park when I spotted a group of youngish and middle-aged women sitting around, eating snacks and apparently enjoying the nice evening. We parked the car and a woman popped up and asked if we’d move the car some twenty feet away. “We’re working here!” she said. Apparently we’d parked in the park’s designated hooker-pickup-spot.
While I shouldn’t have been surprised, I was. As well as being smack-dab in the middle of town, and brightly lit, that park doesn’t have a lot of low-lying vegetation.
Years back, I’d cut through another city park at dusk and been stunned to find couples in various states of undress lying just a few meters off the path, evenly spaced every four or five meters. They weren’t just holding hands, or reciting poetry to each other. Since I’m always hearing that Vietnam is a “traditional” society, I’m left wondering what those traditions entail. Horniness and hypocrisy?