Race or Class in Vietnam

P1010025Hanoi We were all used to seeing facemasks of different sorts, fashions, and colors on the tens of thousands of scooter drivers when we first navigated the streets of Ho Chi Minh City and then later Hanoi.  What was more curious in the stifling heat and humidity was figuring out the long arm stockings that were being worn by many women even working as street cleaners.  Also baffling was the full head and shoulder coverings on some women on the scooters and elsewhere working in the fields and even as I saw yesterday plying the fruit trade from small row boats in beautiful Ha Long Bay.

What was up with all of this?

Well, part of it was simply explained by an effort to not suck in every scintilla of pollution from the teeming streets, fair enough, but that turned out to only be a small part.
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