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.
Government messages like this used to be ubiquitous in Vietnam. Today things are way less doctrinaire as Ho Chi Minh City reaches for the sky. Everywhere you look there’s space for rent. Like here:
And look, there’s an old-fashioned government-approved-style cartoon slogan at that top of that building. A closer look:
Google Translate has it as “determined to build Ho Chi Minh City with good quality, civilized, modern and love.”
And good old capitalist rent. Phone numbers just down the side of the building.
On your first visit or two to HCMC you’ll need to acclimate to the differences in personal space; here, lots more stuff is arrayed across every square meter in a mostly agreeable, user friendly way. I’m a laggard though at adjusting to the difference in aural personal space.
We’re staying on the 13th-floor of a 21-floor building and we might just as well have been on hand at the Saturday night invite-only show in the skybar above us, live Viet Pop invading our personal earspace the same way a plane flies over your house’s airspace. With utter impunity.
This morning at 7:00 there’s a live concert down on the street, sounds like it’s right in front of the Eximbank, horns and marching band-drums. Can’t see them and they never seem to march away. Unique hour for a concert, but it’s an agreeable accompaniment to strong ground Vietnamese coffee, strained through a phin cà phê.