I am in M2C coffee shop; one of a thousand independent, beautiful, unique coffee shops in Saigon. You can find coffee shops everywhere here; hidden down narrow alleyways, tucked away in forgotten colonial villas, or concealed in enigmatic old apartment buildings; there’s a whole sub-culture of ‘indie’ cafes in the city. These coffee shops offer a distinct kind of ambience, décor and intimacy that the ever-increasing number of international coffee chains in Saigon can never compete with. I am here because it is raining outside-a heavy downpour of rain which happens almost every afternoon during monsoon season. So, sitting down in a coffee shop to work is the best way to hide from the rain.
Basically there are 2 seasons here in Saigon: sunny and rainy. Rainy season starts from the end of April and ends late November; it comes to save you from the heat and humidity of the sunny season. Rainy season doesn’t mean that it will rain all day long, it just happens for one to two hours or less in the afternoon; the cloud bursts are short, and clear quickly.
It is true when people here compare Saigon’s rainy season with girls; they are both very unpredictable and temperamental. It is sunny; the sky is clear and blue; and the sun brightens the sky, but, without warning, a downpour of rain makes everything around you muddy. It arrives very quickly and disappears just as fast; then the sun returns to brighten the city once more. Sometimes, you can experience sunshine and rain at the same time while the sky is still blue and, if you are lucky, you will see the rainbow cross over 2 buildings. So, one thing to remember is that during the rainy season you have to bring a rain coat or an umbrella wherever you go; don’t trust the girl’s mood!
If you are in the street and it starts raining, everyone will stop their motorbikes, put on their raincoats and carry on as normal; some street vendors will open their umbrellas to cover their products, and other street sellers will run to shelter to help cover themselves and, after everything is covered, business will return to usual. It seems like the rain doesn’t affect Vietnamese people; it doesn’t stop their moving, their selling; life goes on- it is busy but happy here.
Sometimes the rain lasts longer than 2 hours and some streets may become rivers; some of these flood waters can be nearly knee deep, making motorbike travel adventurous. Rainy season may make you wet, everything around you becomes cold, muddy & dirty, and the crazy traffic jams on the way can sometimes make you feel angry and blue; but after several hours of rain, the city becomes much more bearable and the air is fresher. I love it. It like the way this city is treating you, some days you will really hate it but on other days things will happen and you will fall in love with the city all over again. Just accept it like a true saigoneer.