The Art (of napping) is alive and well in Vietnam

Art is alive and well in Vietnam

Napping is an art, laden with cultural context. In Spain the time honored siesta was a way to enjoy a hearty lunch and avoid the midday sun. In the US the notion of being “caught napping” carries with it a negative connotation, unless pursued by a toddler or a college student.

Naps have merit and leaders including Winston Churchill, Reagan, Kennedy and Clinton, along with Albert Einstein were noted nappers. It has restorative powers and puts out bodies back in a harmonious state.
I am pleased to report that the art of napping is alive and well in Vietnam.

In Vietnam there is no shame in napping.
I have seen more than one hammock strung between available trees or posts, the napper and hammock becoming indistinguishable.
A salesman for kiddie pools smiled as I walked by noticing his wife curled up, fetal position, napping at the bottom of a (waterless) pool.

Pedi-cab drivers recline in their carriages; even motorbike riding locals balance on the seats of their (idle) bikes. Kids do it, adults do it, and colleagues do it.

In the office there is a gender difference. Women tend to doze face down on their desks. Men lean back in their chairs to nod off. There is no sense of shame and it is accepted and expected even in the busiest of places.

I know one educator who, after lunch, practices the ritual: Lights off, pillows at the ready, deep slow counting breaths, mind cleared of thoughts and, like clockwork drifts into a half hour nap, only to awaken refreshed and re-energized for the afternoon. Truly he fashions himself to be an artist.


About Dr. Roy Nirschel

Thirty years experience as an educator; international traveler, occasional writer, on a personal journey. Author of My Seasons in Saigon (available at Upon the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States I promised to go to Mexico; I did! Carol and I are here now. In the spirit of full disclosure, I promised to go to Mexico if Hillary Clinton was elected president too. The Seasons in Saigon are over; I am uncertain about Vietnam for many reasons despite my love for the country. Now it is Mexico time.

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