Postcard: The Hedonism of Bui Vien, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

HO CHI MINH CITY is aggressively hedonistic—drive fast, drink lots, eat cheap. Nowhere is this more evident than Bui Vien. It is Vietnam’s own Khao San Road, a wild and colourful stretch where ragged dreadlocked travelers constantly laugh at touts for foot massages and happy hours. I wanted to stay out and drink but I didn’t want to stay out or drink there; the same hawkers will lock eyes with you as many times as you pass them without once recognizing your face (don’t we all just blend together here?), not so much inviting you in as shoving a menu into your hands and smiling vacantly as you squirm away. “Isn’t this what you want?” they seem to be asking. “Two-dollar burgers, four-dollar rubdowns. What else did you come here for?”


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