As we take our daily walk around Thành Phố (City) Hồ Chí Minh, we like to get off the smoggy main streets and head into the các hẻm (winding lanes) linking together hundreds of houses and families within the large blocks. I am usually on the hunt for interesting architecture in the houses, but it is the families that catch my eye. They almost always have a smile for the tall ông tây (Mr. West) walking through their neighborhood.
I am always too shy to photograph people, however. In this case, though, this family (they do appear to be a multi-generational group) INSISTED that I take their picture, and I was only too happy to do so. For Vietnamese, it is any excuse for a good laugh or a party.
As I walked away to continue my journey, I found myself surprised in the midst of a small graveyard surrounded by houses.
I hadn't noticed gravesites among the houses before, but since then, I have found several individual gravesites by houses along the lanes. This neighborhood grew out of the fields that were here thirty or forty years ago, and built up around the gravesites often found in the fields of Việt Nam.