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Early Morning Funeral in Saigon: Dancing in the Streets

By Dave Fox
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The early morning honkfest outside my hotel window here in Saigon is nothing unusual. It never stops. But I dragged myself out of bed at 6 a.m. when I heard the marching band. Seven floors below me was a lively parade with people dancing in the middle of an intersection and twirling a coffin around in circles before setting it back on an elaborate vehicle that was part fancy hearse, part bus for the mourners.

That’s the kind of funeral I want. Not today, please (I’m about to ride on the back of a motorbike through Saigon rush hour, down to Vinh Long in the Mekong Delta. After enough time on motorbikes in this city, one becomes fatalistic.) …but when it’s my time to go, I think it would be nifty if people danced in the streets and celebrated my life. I think we’ve got death figured out all wrong in the West.

Published on Monday, November 30, 2009

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