Rubbish and street vendors

A couple of (sad) things I have noticed about Vietnam: rubbish and street vendors.

The rubbish – mostly plastic bags – literally litter the landscape. In some places, there are piles of it. It would be a major job – probably lasting a couple of years – to clean it all up. The river running through Saigon and feeding in from the Mekong Delta is black from pollution.

The vendors are annoying more than anything. We tourists are pretty obvious, and sometimes getting off buses to go to a place of culture (and then back on the bus) means walking through a number of pretty persistent buyers.

Some vendors are disfigured or disabled, with missing limbs (war? Agent Orange?), and it is difficult not to feel so, so sorry for their plight. However, we are advised by the tour company that if you do buy from them, they are like seagulls to chips. You buy from one, the rest will hover around and expect you to buy from them too.

We are also advised not to buy from children. If their parents think they are good earners, they remove the children from school to work and earn.

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