If you're not up and functioning by 7 a.m., the locals may think that you are sick. Look out at 5 a.m. and see people going for a walk, playing badminton, doing calisthenics in the street. And then they eat their morning soup (usually it is soup) either at work or on their way to work. Slurping and burping are acceptable.
11 a.m., almost religiously, the place roars to a halt for lunch and a nap,
waking up again between 1 and 2 to zoom forward until 4 or 5, at which point
the motorbike roar starts again: home. But dinner, too, may be away from home,
depending on how much time has been spent to stock the larders. And then at
night: the young especially go to coffee bars to meet friends and talk and sit
with a cafe sua da,
a Tiger Beer, a fruity smoothie, or a Coke (but just as noodles in the U.S. do not
taste the same as noodles here, so too Coke does not taste the same here as at
home). Pennywort juice, watermelon juice, an avocado smoothie.
moves slowly at night.
you have to ask for the bill; there is no trying to move you out so others can
occupy your seat and make the owner more money. Vietnam runs on "rubber
time" -- nothing scheduled on the hour starts on the hour. And here it
somehow doesn't matter that the clock in the $15-a-night hotel room, most
likely battery-run (and batteries here tend not to be terribly sturdy),
has said 5:05 since we checked in 9 days ago.
in the U.S., where we measure time in minutes, Vietnam speaks of time (and
everything else) in terms of custom and relationship, redefining the phrase
"taking the time". For people, here how they treat time is neither an
investment nor a choice; how they treat time is just the
way they do things.