Ryan and I hadn’t been in Ho Chi Minh City long when everything shut down for Tet New Year celebrations. This meant many different things. On the upside, this was a great time to explore the city on foot. For the first time since we’d arrived, we didn’t have to wade through people. Traffic decreased by at least half. It was dead quiet (in comparison) and streets were suddenly very easy to cross.
On the downside, it suddenly became very difficult to find food. Everything closed as people stayed home to celebrate with their families. We also ran out of clothes because the lady that cleaned our building had collected our laundry and then virtually disappeared for about a week. I only had a couple things and I was washing them in the sink and shower just about every-other day.
As you can imagine, I quickly grew tired of this and finally I went in search of our missing garb. I found them on the roof and after a few glances this way and that (although I don’t know why I bothered), I reclaimed what was ours and made a B line for our room. I wondered if she’d be confused when she returned to work and found a good portion of the clothing missing, but I didn’t really care.
After that I was reluctant to let her take our clothes again. I started stashing them in places where she wouldn’t find them and take them away and potentially keep them for a week or more. However, it wasn’t long before I was facing the same situation and I had a choice to make. I could either give them up, or I needed to get busy washing them by hand.
The next time she came to clean I had them ready for her in a bag. I have to admit my stomach tightened a little as I watched her take them away. I wondered how long it would be until I saw them again. Luckily she brought them back a couple of days later. The turnaround time was much better when Tet wasn’t thrown into the mix. Still, it was always a little difficult for me to say goodbye every time laundry day rolled around.