While Saigon is often brash and hectic, local neighborhoods can be like a haven with a real community feel, and a much slower pace of life.
Take a walk down the hems (alleyways) in any part of Ho Chi Minh City and the traffic diminishes, doorways of local homes are usually left wide open, and neighbors all seem to know each other and socialize together.
Late afternoons are a prime time to visit: children are returning from school and are out playing in the streets, adults are chatting, having a snack or a drink, and generally relaxing once the working day is over. One of the benefits of living here is that it removes the pressure to take good photographs in a short period of time. I can always try again another day. The fact that I am not under pressure actually improves my people shots because I get to spend more time with them.
Bicycles and scooters are everywhere – they can't be missed and are a great subject for photography. The young toddler with the Hello Kitty tricycle riding on the road caught my eye, and I didn’t have to wait long for a motorbike to ride past – a mother riding two children home from school. It is normal here for an infant or child to be seated in front of the rider, and my local friends tell me that their children love it. I suspect I would have loved that as a child as well.