Wednesday, June 20, 2007

OUR TREASURES: Saigon | Ho Chi Minh City

GOOOOD MORNING VIETNAAAAAAAMM! Whew! I always wanted to do that since I saw Robin William’s movie a long time ago. And I did it with all my naked glory on the window of my hotel room to Morgan’s horror. LOL. Our room was too high anyway, so I’m quite sure my naked pics won’t be circulating on the net (just yet! ha!).

Anyway -- Morgan, yes Morgan, I took him with me here to Saigon. He’s Vietnamese-French anyway so I thought that I could USE him for company. This is when friends come in handy. *horns pushing through my forehead at the rate of 2 cm per second*

We took the 1:00 PM flight of Vietnam Airlines (Flight 850) from Bangkok to Saigon. They fly to here everyday, by the way. Arrived at Tan Son Nhat International Airport at 2:30 PM Saigon time. The flight was ok and nothing out of the ordinary but I have to mention the in-flight meal! Simply fantastic! And the flight crew are equally yummy! (or at least 'looks' yummy). If you haven’t tried flying Vietnam Airlines, you should on your next trip.

The last time I was here was like a year ago when I wanted to try their casinos but was disappointed. Their casinos in those days consist of a couple of slot machines and a few card tables – I hope it’s better now. This is one of the main reason I came here aside from my Nobel prize worthy humanitarian outreach (if I have time). LOL

I keep calling it Saigon although they changed the name of the city to Ho Chi Minh since 1975. Hey, Saigon sounds more sophisticated and global, don’t you think? So Saigon, it is -- and don't argue! BTW, not so many of us know -- Saigon is NOT the capital of Vietnam.

Saigon, located in the South of Vietnam, is celebrating its 309th year of establishment this year. Saigon is the largest city, the economic capital, the cultural trendsetter and the heart and soul of this great country. Women dressed in traditional Ao Dai presents a wonderful contrast to the city’s modern streets. Men and women on bicycles is an astonishing moving irony pedaling their way alongside modern cars. But these, sad to say, is fast deminishing -- Ao Dai's are replaced by t-shirts and jeans and bicycles are now replaced by motorcycles.*sigh* And NO, these 2 ladies on the motorbike wasn't around yet when Saigon was first founded, ok? Ha!

The French colonization from 1859 to 1930 made the word “Saigon” synonymous to an Oriental global city in those times alongside Shanghai, Manila and Singapore. Foreigners in those days fancied living in these cosmopolitan cities in the Far East. It all ended when the communists took control in the 30’s, followed by the Japanese invasion of the 40’s through the wars of the 60’s and 70’s and the re-occupation of the French. But today, Vietnam has the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia and the 2nd in the whole of East Asia next to China.

Vietnam is still a communist state – it may be out of style nowadays – but hey! They are doing a great job compared to its “democratic” neighbors with nothing much to do but protest on the streets all day instead of working together for the benefit of the country. The Vietnamese seems to be too busy to waste their time like that.

It’s a 20-minute drive from Tan Son Nhat International Airport to New World Hotel Saigon where we are staying. And with that 20-minute ride, I saw modern buildings, busy roads, malls, busy but smiling people -- how this country is holding on and moving up! My hats off to Vietnam, it's leaders and it's people. Impressive, very impressive indeed.


--Pisanu in Saigon



My hubby is so enamored with Vietnam after seeing that French movie, Indochine. We hope to go there someday.

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

Cool! Vietnam is unique and oddly romantic. Come by soon!

Anonymous said...

It does take a foreigner to notice these things. Sometimes, being a Vietnamese you get so used to everything that make it harder to spot things. Glad you enjoy your trip to Vietnam.


Pisanu for BISEAN said...

We're going back there again in 2 weeks!

Anonymous said...
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danyhael said...

geez... some of my comments were deleted but the editor failed to see the one above me? ^

yeah... saigon. thanks to their history, many stage filo actors had jobs bcoz of it.

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