Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Saigon--Just Walk at a Consistent Pace and Everything Will Be Fine

After hearing so much about the bright lights and big city of Saigon, we were really excited to experience it first-hand. We rolled in around 6 pm and were dropped off in the tourist district to find lodging for the night. Within 2 minutes, we were literally dragged off by 2 separate old ladies to look at their guesthouse options. This was pretty distinct from what we'd experienced in the rest of Southeast Asia--and pretty refreshing, although after a few days, I started noticing mysterious finger-sized bruises down my arms.

We ended up the fourth floor of a guesthouse along one of the busier intersections in District 1, and couldn't resist taking some video of the mesmorizing flow of traffic from our balcony. So many motorbikes, so few accidents. We also had to film a short educational video on how to cross the street in Saigon--always an adventure!

We spent a couple of days wandering around the central city, in search of the best Pho ever (mission accomplished!), and visiting the markets, historical sites, and of course the War Remnants Museum (formerly the Museum of American Aggression). The museum was filled with amazing and sobering photographs from the war and its aftermath. Of course, just walking around the streets, you see this aftermath in amputees and people born with defects from Agent Orange.

Despite this very recent history, the people here are extremely friendly, proud, resilient, and seemingly too busy to think much about the past. Compared with the other Asian cities we've visited, Saigon is definitely the most polished and on-the-move, making it easy to see how Vietnam's economy is one of the fastest-growing in the world.



tikiemily said...

My friend says that when you are in italy you can give the sign of the horns and the cars will miraculously part and not run you down. The only catch, you really must believe and it helps if you are in a Vatican neighborhood!

Jenni said...

The traffic is amazing, like some kind of bizarre dance.