We walked out of a restaurant – bellies filled with Pho and hearts filled with contentment – and turned a corner. As we passed a garage and an indifferent street dog curled up on the pavement, we heard strains of jazz music wafting from above. Intrigued, we turned into the doorway, walked up a dingy flight of stairs and found ourselves in an incredibly quaint cafe; tall white pillars, plush-albeit-slightly-weathered couches, wooden deer heads on the walls and an ornate chandelier hanging from the ceiling. People lounged in the couches, leaned against doorways, perched on windowsills. In a well-lit corner of the room, a singer crooned, accompanied by a drummer and bass player. Mid-song, a man got up from a couch across the room, walked over to the piano (beer mug in hand,) and started playing along. Two songs later, another man walked in through the doors, paused, listened to the song being sung, took out a saxophone from its case and joined them. Not all of these people knew each other. And yet they jammed together for about 20 minutes, creating some amazing music and having a visibly fabulous time while at it.
It’s been almost 2 months since my visit to Ho Chi Minh, and this experience is still visually imprinted in my memory. This is why I love travel. Because researched and well-laid plans aside, you chance upon these tiny surprises … these unexpected moments of beauty, which leave you entranced and fill your heart with joy. And that is quite magical.