Not much traffic, much cleaner, less populated, less polluted and it seemed people at that time behaved more properly.
I may never forget the afternoon walk from my parent house to my high school along Nguyen van Cu street, that was my road to the school for 6,7 years. I loved these narrow alleys along both sides of the main street, as I followed them to my school with my childhood friend who was living in the same neighbourhood.
In Saigon this unique urban design, "double street", can be found in some other districts as well. Before, this small alleys were empty and covered only by the tiny golden tamarind leaves, but now mostly occupied by street vendors. Wonder do we have this kind of "double street" somewhere else in the world ? I thought it has been designed intentionally for bicycles, maybe I'm wrong!
Saigon is developing and we have to pay a high price for that. The new skyscrapers - some looking good, some quite ugly, new roads opened, new bridges launched...but in return we have to deal with a lot of things: the traffic jam, the pollution, the over-populations, the flood, the social problems...It bites into the city, we feel a pain but then we realised that we should learn how to accept, how to ignore it.
I don't know why I suddenly want to catch these streets in Saigon, probably while they are still there with the green trees, nice shade. Many of these trees are over hundred year old, some already died from the inside. During the raining season, we see people in uniform from a state company named " Park & Green trees" cutting off the old ones or pollarding them but I never see them to plant any! Maybe I just missed it.
We have a famous song created by one of the greatest Vietnamese composers - Phạm Duy. He passed away early this year in his 90s and left a huge music heritage - a thousand songs that none of us will forget in many many years to come.
We don't have the autumn, we don't have the golden leaves fall but by some how many our poets, composers always inspired by this "Golden Fall"in their works, but I may prefer "the evergreen", so I'd like to end my walk along these evergreen streets with a Pham Duy's song as the image of the Saigon street with tall trees, great shade will live forever in his very sentimental piece of music.
"Trả lại em yêu, khung trời đại học
Con đường Duy Tân, cây dài bóng mát
Buổi chiều khuôn viên, mây trời xanh ngát
Vết chân trên đường vẫn chưa phai nhạt..."