Ho Chi Minh City Update

Note: Since I was just getting things rolling on the first post about Ho Chi Minh city Dustin decided to follow up with a little more detail about our first day in Vietnam at Ho Chi Minh City.

Greetings from Vietnam! This a brief review of Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as it is know to the locals. Since we were only there for 2 days, we weren’t really able tour the city in depth; we spent only our first day there actually walking around within the city limits.

Ho Chi Minh City

Just walking around in the city is an adventure in itself. Traffic control seems to be a relatively new concept to this city of 9 million people, each of whom seem to own a moped or bicycle and are needing to be somewhere else than where they are. Crossing the street is a harrowing experience to say the least. There are very few traffic lights, and basic intersections become popular tourist attractions, people gawking as mopeds and cars hurtle in all directions, honking their horns in protest. Mom read an article in an English version of the local newspaper that commented on the traffic; it seems that as the city tries to make order of its streets, the young people are stubbornly resisting. 70% of traffic violations are by youngsters traveling on the wrong side of the road. Most everyone chooses to disregard the white lines in the middle of the road, and our drivers often pass slower vehicles against a steady flow of oncoming traffic, honking their horns and causing everyone in the van to take very deep breaths.

We spent an afternoon walking around a crowded shopping center, where some of us took advantage of the cheaply priced American items; I bought a nice Swiss laptop bag for $16 US! Afterwards we spent the rest of the day trekking around the city, eating strange foods hawked by street vendors with roadside cooking utensils. We found a couple temples where people burned incense and offered up food an money as sacrifices to their gods, being depicted by statues and stone carvings and each seeming to represent different blessing: good health, good fortune, etc.

We caught taxi’s back to our hotel, and across from the lobby was a park full of performers and people playing shuttlecock, a game similar to hackysack, but with a plastic spring attached to a feather. Taylor and I bought a couple, and made complete fools out of ourselves trying to play, to the amusement of the locals.

All in all, Saigon is an experience in Raw Humanity. Pretty much everyone seems to have a job, however little it may seem, and those who cant work because of some infirmity are reduced to begging in the street. The streets radiate an energy like that of New York or L.A.; replace the hundreds of cars with thousands of people on mopeds, and the sterile streets for dirt, grime, and smog. Nonetheless, the city has a cheerfulness about its people, each content in their individual struggles.

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~ by tgrantphoto on December 24, 2009.

2 Responses to “Ho Chi Minh City Update”

  1. Who is taking these photo’s? They are amazing! I love photography an extremely jealous your skills whoever you are! Great work!

    • Hey Taylor, Thanks for checking out the blog! Taylor Grant is actually taking the pictures that you are seeing here on the blog and says thank you! Merry Christmas!

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