The Women of Vietnam

Marilynn made these observations about the women of Vietnam recently.

“The woman thing” here is fascinating—-it is very hard to get real info; so much of what I say is just based on observation and what people who have been here a long time say. All day long there are multitudes of men sitting on little plastic chairs on the street mostly in groups—during the day they smoke, drink coffee, gossip, or gamble. At night it’s the same but with beer.

People truly live on the street here even if they have somewhere else to go. Women only sit on the little chairs to eat and then leave. No ”lollygagging” as my Mother used to say.

Women seem to “man” all of the food stands that are everywhere on the street. Same with most shops, and, by the way, the stands have to be pushed into place everyday. It’s usually a long push and the sites have no running water, so they bring that too—plus all the ingredients collected fresh early in the day.

Older women seem to be the primary street sweepers and garbage collectors—this is very unattractive work, dirty, hot and collection is to pushcarts—so of course they are pushing them by hand—all the woman of this class wear the print polyester/silkish pajamas. This includes all of the construction women even if they are mixing concrete. Women seem to carry most of the “loads,” bars balanced across shoulders—heavy loads both baskets—–even very old women who have some difficulty doing this.

This is the Vietnamese social security system—–Maybe some of our folks screaming about entitlements should see this—probably just say “they should have pulled themselves out of this while they could.”

Then there are the brides—Jack and I spend Sunday AM’s in a very Starbuckish coffee place across from the big cathedral —watching endless parades of brides in the most elegant of Vera Wang—like dresses—we are told that most of the dresses are rental—but they are beautiful—the hair and makeup too are gorgeous—even the most ordinary of girls look luscious—-the whole wedding thing is amazing it is a huge business here—I don’t know who the brides are but it looks like a real setup for long term disappointment from here—they arrive by limo or taxi with a decked out groom and a cadre of red carpet type photographers who rearrange the veils—float them for pictures—have the brides running and the train floating—it is so amazing and funny to us and sort of sad…………….me thinks the groom will be in a little plastic chair in about a year………….

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