It’s hard to imagine 50s, 60s and 70s French and American occupiers would have pictured sleepy old Saigon looking like this in April, 2019.
And again, Ho Chi Minh City, April 2019, this one a three-shot panorama from atop the Ben Thanh Tower. If you’re patient and allow it to load from this link (it will take a minute), you can explore the entire 44 inches of the width of this photo in detail.
Our countdown is on now toward a three month+ round the world trip starting in mid-April. I’ll be traveling with my wife, the fearless Finn Mirja Murray. She and I will set out next month bound first for Saigon, ATL-IAD-BJS-Saigon. We’ve rented an apartment for three weeks:
It’s just off Le Loi and just above the Ben Thanh Market. We are coming from the ethnic food-constrained southern Appalachians and looking forward to eating well. Destinations beyond Saigon are up in the air for now. While we’re in Vietnam we hope to get up to Hue for a look at the work my friend Chuck Searcy is doing with Project RENEW. Chuck says, “A visit there brings into sharp focus the continuing legacies of the war that we’re trying to mitigate, unexploded bombs and mines (UXO) and Agent Orange / dioxin.”
Our ultimate mission is to make it to Finland by the time it’s summer there, sometime in June. We have a mökki, a cottage by the lake there. We’ll have to work out the route between Southeast Asia and Northern Europe. Just now I’m keen on flying HAN-IST-Tbilisi and enjoying some fine Georgian hospitality while we wait another few weeks for Finland to warm up, but that is subject to, even likely to change. Any other suggestions?
Meanwhile, from now to then, we’ll try to post a photo a day from previous trips to Vietnam on Twitter, where I am @BMurrayWriter, please follow, and all the photos we post will propagate day by day on Earthphotos.com, too, at this URL: https://www.earthphotos.com/Other/Around-the-World-Slowly-2019/.
This is a wide open, open ended trip. Please help us by lending your expertise. Do weigh in. Or, if you’re local in any of our destinations, please allow me to buy you a beer.
Ah, but politicians are making me tired. Here’s a worthy diversion: birds!
Click ’em for enlargements and more bird photos from EarthPhotos.com.
The ship Captain Cook used to ‘discover’ Australia may have been found — sunken in a U.S. harbor.
IMPORTANT: You can click to enlarge them for a better look, but there will be a caption at the bottom that gives you the answer. Careful.
1. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
2. Melbourne, Australia
3. Montreal, Canada
4. Perth, Australia
5. Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
6. Saigon, Vietnam
7. Kigali, Rwanda
8. Minsk, Belarus
9. Durban, South Africa
10. Riga, Latvia
In the mid-nineteenth century, Walter Bagehot wrote that to preserve the monarchy, “We must not let in daylight upon magic.” If you try to see much other than the royal wedding this weekend on BBC World, you’ll be convinced (resigned?) that the Brits do “the magic” maddeningly well.
So, read, I say, and here are a few worthy articles:
Living in a Cycle of Fear and Danger (in Kabul) by Ali M Latifi in Roads and Kingdoms
The Jaguar Is Made for the Age of Humans by Nadia Drake at The Atlantic
What Can Chimpanzee Calls Tell Us About the Origins of Human Language? by Michael Wilson at Smithsonianmag.org
Neoliberalism is a real economic model – here’s how the left can overturn it by Paul Mason at New Statesman
How Democracy Dies by John Gray at New Statesman
Americans are Being Held Hostage and Terrorized by the Fringes by Tim Alberta at Politico
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’m working through The Road to Unfreedom by Timothy Snyder and that I think he’s pretty brilliant. Sophie Pinkham doesn’t think so. She has written Zombie History – Timothy Snyder’s bleak vision of the past and present in The Nation.
One last note about a column last week: I think The Fall of the German Empire by Ross Douthat in Wednesday’s New York Times is thoughtful. He calls Germany’s economic dominance of Europe the “third German empire,” writing,
“…if the test of Europe’s unity feels like a test for liberal democracy, it’s a mistake to see it only in those terms. It is also a struggle of nations against empire, of the Continent’s smaller countries against German mastery and Northern European interests, in which populist parties are being elected to resist policies the center sought to impose upon the periphery without a vote. And the liberal aspect of the European system wouldn’t be under such strain if the imperial aspect hadn’t been exploited unwisely by leaders in the empire’s German core.”
Cheers for now.