Free hugs for Christmas

Not everyone can afford Christmas presents. Sometimes even the foreign tourists here are so down on their luck that they need a helping hand to get a bite to eat (which is a story I will tell later), so you can imagine how tough it is for the Vietnamese.

Some are lucky and drive nice cars or motorbikes, live in good apartments and have Christmas trees standing above big piles of gifts. Some don’t.

But you know what EVERYONE can afford at Christmas ?

Free Hugs

The Free Hugs movement is alive and well in Saigon and I’ve seen large groups of students doing this many times throughout the last couple of years living here. This morning, at around 9am, free hugs were given out to all and sundry in Pham Ngu Lao. When I saw the brigage of hug-givers turn and head down Do Quang Dau as I continued down Bui Vien I chuckled and smiled. Then I thought “Wait, no. This is two days before Christmas. I need a photo of that even if all I have is the crappy low-res camera on my daughter’s Galaxy Pocket”.

The photos were blurry due to me not having cleaned the lens, but it really doesn’t matter. There’s just as much emotion in this photos regardless of the number of megapixels in them. It wasn’t just for the foreigners either as you can see in the first photo as an old cyclo driver got a hug from a cute young girl. The girl in white was the first one who ran up and wrapped her arms around me, and then three more of them ran up and gave me a huge big group hug. Guys and girls. All spreading the love at Christmas.

Hugs in Saigon. That’s all I want for Christmas. (Other than my fiance who I’m getting engaged to on Christmas Day ! Yay !)

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