Vietnam’s chaotic wiring, nested in tangles that sometimes brush against the top of one’s head in the tighter back alleys, are one of the more visceral marks of life here. One day, when more money is available for the beautifying of public spaces, they will presumably disappear, buried in the ground under less pockmarked pavements.
For now, the fuse boxes in front of apartment alleys, disused water towers of French vintage, flooded streets in monsoon season — all give observers a shock of insight into the realization that, yes, this is how people can live.
Even though these systems are not always the best, they work well enough to stay in place. The unique technologies in place in Vietnam bestow a certain everyday flavor, waking travelers up to the history passed down in each moment.