The faded pink horse and yellow butterfly are deserted
Suspended just above the ground on the rusty swing set, they creak with promise in the breeze
But not a kid in sight
We take a chance that the narrow pathway is a short cut, not a dead end. And, this time, we are lucky. We emerge into Bia Hoi, an outdoor beer garden both destined and designed to be packed with revelers on a typical lazy Sunday
But today is not typical
there is no soul in sight
Apart from the dark-haired, willowy gentleman, bravely sitting watch.
We glide by on our bicycles, pretending this is normal, as he stares at his phone.
We greet him, to no response.
We try again.
Ah! Xin chao! Xin chao!
He snaps out of his reverie.
He responds with a shrug and a smile.
In a neighborhood typically jammed with people decked in Sunday best and casual worst, bouncing between market stalls, the market stalls.
And he is the only one we see.
Often when a combat submarine is attempting to evade enemy radar, it goes quiet. To avoid detection, it shuts down non-essential systems and operates with as little sound as possible. To allies, tracking the sub via radar, this sudden silence presents as two options:
One. The sub has gone quiet
Trust the captain
Two. The sub, has gone
Davy Jones’ locker calling
As we pedal gently, I consider which of these options this sleepy corner presents to us today. Has the neighborhood simply gone quiet
Or has it simply gone
And our casual jaunt by bicycle has taken a sudden turn