Old Meets New
by H Milan Winkelhock - 5 years, 11 months ago
Ho Chi Minh City as it is now called was my first introduction to Vietnam, arriving on a cheap regional flight to the old terminal is still quite a thrill at is has a nostalgic communist feel to it unlike the new one. HCM is a huge town but most of the attractions including all the museums, temples, shops, restaurants and the riverfront is within walking distance from most hotels. The city is growing like crazy as one can tell from all the construction and the towering glass bank buildings. The government still tries to impose an authoritarian feel to the country with its many soviet era government buildings complete with red stars and “armed” guards, but just like in China, this is an elaborate smoke screen. Vietnam has almost every western amenity imaginable, it is even equipped with a more or less free market banking system. The most obvious clue to me that the socialist utopia is no longer holding up was how the authorities no longer seem to trust their own people. Look closely and you can tell that all these soldiers standing guard outside the government offices have had key components of their rifles removed.