Ho Chi Minh

This huge statue of Ho Chi Minh dominates its surroundings in the city that was renamed for him after the reunification of Vietnam in 1975. It is a spectacular setting with the People’s Committee Building as a backdrop. This beautiful building was originally the Hôtel de Ville de Saïgon and was built between 1902 and 1908. We found it interesting that the city is almost universally called Saigon despite the numerous memorials to Ho Chi Minh and the red flags (both the gold star and hammer and sickle versions) flying from every building. Indeed the bustling commercialism of Saigon is in stark contrast to the rhetoric of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. We thoroughly enjoyed our four days in Saigon amidst the heat, noise and manic traffic consisting mostly of small motorcycles whose riders take scant notice of red lights! It is a charming mix of beautiful colonial buildings, peaceful tree-lined courtyards, overcrowded sidewalks, food stalls and markets, temples and pagodas. And we ate the most delicious food.

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