I've lived in district 4 for over a year now and funnily i have yet to really, fully explore it. for me district 4 so far has consisted of my apartment building which includes the supermarket on the bottom and the occassional wet market and the kfc down the road. i guess after long days at work i just want to go home to my apartment and get away from everything. i have yet to explore the market just down the road or the numerous coffee shops and food stalls around me. but today after just feeling kinda down about life stuff i went for a quick drive around my neighbourhood and while it's a small district comparted to, say Phu Nhuan, this area is so full of things....a lot of old things. you can say this area is slowly being gentrified but it's taking its time. i remember when i first told my family i was going to move into district 4, they were a bit worried. you see back in the day this area was quite dangerous, full of gangs and drugs and was also a port/shipping area of sorts as it's on the river. however, since those days gone by, the area is getting revitalized, especially with the introduction of the 20 floor apartment building that i am in and the others ones being built. the area is a blend of the new, modern and the old...only the modern is coming in very slowly compared to say, district 1 (the main city centre). so when driving around today through the smaller streets, i saw some very beautiful buildings. the geometrical shapes and repetition of patterns that these buildings have just grab me everytime. And because this area is still poor in a lot of ways, the signages that people have in their stores are of the old variety. the painted images of shoes, bags, letters, words, etc. this stuff will slowly disappear to make way for the new just as it has slowly everywhere. I took some pictures of them today with my camera but it was with my film camera so we'll just have to wait till i get them developed.
this slight drive around has made me decide to explore my 'hood next weekend when i have time. i'll hit the market and the surrounding area, camera in hand. it's this stuff that makes me happy. that makes me feel good. that makes me not want to leave this city...not quite yet.
i'm lucky to be here in a time when things are changing because i know in 10 years time i won't recognize it. I know it changed so much from the first time i came to explore my roots 8 years ago and even from when i came back a little over 2 years ago. there are just so many more cars and motorbikes on the road. when i head home to visit in september i will take a look at my old photos from 8 years ago...funnily, those were all taken with the current nikon slr film camera i'm using now.
pics to follow....