So I mentioned on my Facebook page, a while back, about a guy I met from Chicago. A friend of mine had mentioned that she knew this man from Chicago living here in southeast Asia and, being that we are both Americans kissed by nature's sun, thought we should meet up. Fortunately we happened to be in the same place one particular Friday night. It was a hip hop party, well French hip hop, but that's another story.
Being, that he was the only "brother" in the establishment, I noticed him right away. Please don't misunderstand, I am not interested in dating this man. The interest is similar to when we moved to Wisconsin; any new Black person in the area stirred up excitement. But this isn't just a case of finding brown skin and curly hair. This man is American, and one of the very few that I've met 2 months into my exile. I don't think it is unnatural to assume that two Americans of African decent would want to network with each other. To my chagrin, this man did not share the same assumption. In fact he had other business to attend to. A smorgasbord of International fantasies were waiting for him across the club, Why waste any more minutes talking to the "one of hundreds of Black women" from your hometown living in HCMC? *rolling my eyes*
This leads me to my next point. Ho Chi Minh City reminds me of the South (and West) Side of Chicago, which is pretty sad considering Vietnam is a "developing" country. Let's compare and contrast:
1. South Side of Chi has streets filled with trash, consisting of used diapers, junk food wrappers, condoms / HCMC has streets filled with trash consisting of used diapers, plastic cups, rotten fruit, and other unidentifiable objects
2. In the South Side of Chi (I will shorten to SSC) you will typically see grown men standing around, doing nothing in the middle of the day / In HCMC I see grown men, usually sleeping, in the middle of the day
3. While strolling along in SSC, you can find women with rollers in their hair, going to the grocery store / in HCMC you will see Vietnamese women wearing a roller in their hair, to the market, from the gym, on their way to work. . .
4. On the streets of SSC there are men selling socks, bottles of water, and in the summer time possibly barbeque / In HCMC you will see men and women selling fruit, strange dried sea food, face masks, or grilling unique asian culinary delights
5. In the heat, SSC dwellers are known for blasting their music in all hours of the night / in the heat, which by the way is 24/7/365 my alley neighbors in HCMC do this as well, starting at 10 pm ish till 12:30 am ish
6. In SSC you may get hit with a stray bullet / in HCMC you may get hit by a bus
7. In SSC prostitutes are seen on the corner, sometimes they were there at 6 pm when I got home from work, though I never knew they were prostitutes / in HCMC male prostitutes from Africa are hired to please the Vietnamese women, though most African men will lie and say "they are here to play football."
8. Most folks from the SSC stay on the south side, and may even resent those that get out of the south side and move to the north side of the city. / Similarly folks from the southern part of Vietnam do not interact with folks from northern Vietnam. If you live in the south, you stay in the south, forget those north-siders, they're too uppity anyway ;-)
9. Women on the SSC where weave that doesn't match. / Women in HCMC wear weave that's either too straight, or the wrong color, or just wrong, lol. and they wear rollers in public. . . nuff said
10. Lastly, you think ghetto negros are the only ones who stop on the side of the road to pee? Welp, Vietnamese men do it too! This is why I will never be caught in a flood. . . ewwwwwww.
This juxtaposition may seem extreme. What's more extreme is how in a "civilized" nation, areas of poverty, illiteracy, war-like violence among the youth can still exist. . . and what do we do? travel the world, praised for getting out, more concerned with selfish desires than with uplifting our own community.