Vietnam coffee: Enjoying a cup of coffee in a silent world
By passing through a small glass door, one can walk into the world of silence for a cup of coffee, leaving behind the noisy congested streets of the busy city.
This is Lang or silent café where all the waiters and waitresses are those who lost the sense of hearing.
It is just like its name, Lang is humbly nestled among other cafés on the street, not exhibiting a flashy appearance with colors and lights, but rather, content simply to attract the busy and weary passersby when they want to find a place for a coffee and to escape the hustle and bustle of the street.
At the first glimpse, Lang is totally different from other cafes in town, which are often designed and decorated with beautiful landscapes thanks to huge investments that can reach up to the billions of dong. It is very simple with some ten sets of tables and chairs, which are made of bamboo, sensibly placed in a small cozy room.
Around the café, here and there on the walls, are posters that portray the sign language that belongs to the world of the deaf who are the employees of the café. This sets it apart from all the other nearby establishments.
Ordering and enjoying a cup of coffee there, the guests are requested not to call out but to write down what he or she wants to order, or just browse over the menu and point to the drink you want. That’s it!
To do it any other way, unless you know sign language, would not be understood by the employees. Initially, one might feel strange with such a non-verbal service, but once you become familiar with the environment, it can be very comfortable and relaxing.
On every table’s surface, under the glass, there is a sheet of paper on which has been written sign language with pictures showing the way how to learn the special language to communicate with the hearing disabled. Some spend hours learning the language.
For some, it is a curiosity, but for others it could be a chance to learn another language enabling them to communicate with the silent community in order to share, to understand and to connect with them.
If you care to come during a slow period, you can invite one of the employees to join you for a friendly conversation using sign (and body) language. At first, it might seem difficult, but gradually your skills will improve.
All this, however, does not mean that the café is totally deep in silence. There is light music with the volume adjusted low to fill the café with ambience. Last but not least, the café has a small section that could be used for a mini office by white-collar workers, that includes Wi-Fi access for Internet.
Lang café Vietnam is located at 173 Tran Huy Lieu Street, Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam.
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