It’s become a bit of a cliche to link any mention of the People’s Republic of Vietnam with the 1988 film starring Robin Williams as radio funny man Adrian Cronauer, who is sent to Saigon in 1965 to bring a little comedy back into the lives of the USA soldiers. It’s a good film, with some great acting, not least by Robin himself. Over one million Americans served in Vietnam. 58,000 died and many, many more were injured both physically and
mentally. The USA failed to stop Ho Chi Minh and his army from claimimg the south of the country and uniting it with the north to form Vietnam. The scars of the ill fated episode lie deep in the American psyche. The losses on the Vietnamese side were far higher with at least 250,000 deaths. Saigon was officially renamed as Ho Chi Minh City and the country has grown both in terms of numbers and economically since then. I thought it was tim that I gave it a visit and flew to HCMC on 1st April 2017. The first thing that I noticed was the airport is still Saigon, named after the local river the Sai Gon, the second thing was airport staff moving about the runway in their bicycles. The third thing was how close SGN airport is to the city and the fourth thing was just how much development work is taking place in the city, especially around the river. Sadly my activities were a little restricted due to the heavy and persistent rain but I still managed to get a feel for the bustling city with it’s French colonial past, friendly people and amazing food. Here’s a few photos for you to enjoy.
On the first night we got a taxi down to District 1 and almost immediately spied an interesting restaurant, although it was busy they still found us a seat and we enjoyed cooking our own kangaroo whilst refreshing ourselves with a few cold bottles of the local Saigon beer and Sapporo, the oldest beer in Japan, for a very reasonable price, once you get over the thought of paying hundreds of thousands of dongs and realise how much things actually cost in zVietnam you’ll be amazed at just how cheap the place is. 5ku Station seems to attract a good mixture of locals and tourists/ex-pats, the staff are friendly and efficient and if you don’t mind a litte bit of smoke, I’d highly recommend it.