Saigon (still Saigon to the locals) is quite a beautiful city with treed boulevards and the fine French colonial architecture. Like Bangkok there are a bazillion motorbikes buzzing around. And like Bangkok, their traffic lights count down by the second both red and green lights.
For us, who came of age in the 60s, a city and country that was a lot on our TV screens back then—it was interesting seeing buildings we had seen in the news all those decades ago. We toured the palace where on April 30th 1975 the North Vietnamese tanks broke through the gates forcing the unconditional surrender of the South Vietnamese gov’t and bringing the war to an end. We also visited the War Remnants Museum. Revisiting the war with its destruction, human cost and the atrocities was difficult to take. So many were lost and for what?
We have heard over the years about the friendliness of the Vietnamese which we experienced, too. Even more importantly or maybe because of it the Vietnamese have embraced closer ties with the US and other western nations. They realize it’s better to move on, no point dwelling in the past which can’t be changed. We take our hats off to them for that.