Saturday, August 26, 2006

Saigon














During the war my only exposure to Saigon was the Saigon docks after a trip up the Saigon River before being loaded onto Army buses which took us to an area where we boarded helicopters heading back to the field. No sightseeing trip this.

After 10 months of my year tour, the 1st Cav was pulled from I Corp just south of the DMZ and sent south to deal with the growing VC/NVA problem in Binh Duong, Hau Nghia, Bien Hoa, Binh Long, Phuoc Long, Tay Ninh Provinces all the way to Cambodia. While many of the division including Ron and Tom, flew down, I spent 5 days on Navy ship LST 715 heading south until we reached the Saigon River. A vacation really.

These pictures are of what I didn’t see including some famous locations such as the Presidential Palace, Saigon’s Notre Dame Cathedral, the Saigon Post Office the Caravelle and Rex Hotels, home to many of the press covering the war in and around Saigon. Also pictured is the NVA tank that allegedly was the first to enter the grounds of what was then the Presidential Palace. I say allegedly because I came across another in Hanoi that was also purported to have been the first.

Sneaky Commies. Anything for the tourists.

Saigon Shops








These photos show the Saigon Central Market and are fairly typical of the way most Saigon residents shop. Very crowded, narrow aisles with goods of all types piled everywhere. Chaotic to the uninitiated and kind of reminiscent of other crowded markets I have visited in places like Tijuana Mexico, Xiushui Jie (Silk Alley) in Beijing before the authorities and commercial interests turned it into something more respectable, Itaewon Seoul Korea and Akihabara Tokyo, the center of the universe for all things electronic.