15 March, 2019 – Saigon Reflections

The WiFi was a good thing in Ho Chi Minh City so I could quickly post a blog. Now we are back on the ship and reflecting about our visit to Saigon (yes, people in Ho Chi Minh City still call it that) versus our 2012 visit. Wow – what a difference 7 years can make in a country that decides to embrace capitalism. Yes, Trump was correct in getting the North Korean Premier to come here and see what a Communist country can do with a little bit of capitalism.

Huge buildings of condos and housing for the many people (10 Million) who live here now creating an economic engine that is making the lives of the people here so much better than we remember in 2012. Yes, there is still poverty – but the improvement in living conditions and job creation is apparent everywhere. The young people in this country are thriving on this hope of more westernization than before. Again, product placement is apparent. Everyone is using their phone – even while they all still own motorcycles as the main transportation. In 2012, we saw many more bicycles and people hauling things on their motorcycles. Now it looks like they are just getting to work and going here and there. Thus, bicycles have transformed in to motor scooters and laden motor scooters have transformed in to small trucks.

The tunnel we took UNDER the Saigon River wasn’t even there three years ago. The expressway – same thing. The Port we are at in Phu My is undergoing expansion.

The quaintness of the fisherman, the street vendors., the religious shrines and graciousness of the people are all still present. You might see it differently; but the people are the same. Our tour guide was a hoot. He sang with his Karaoke machine “Unchained Melody” and “Happy Together” on our bus ride back LOL.

Our lunch was a traditional Vietnamese meal and our last stop at the lacquer artwork factory was a nice conclusion to a wonderful tour.

The lacquer art is made on wood either with mother of pearl or crushed duck egg shells as the artwork is created along with painting. These people are truly artists!

Our drive back – 1 hour 30 minutes – gives us such an appreciation for a country that has opened their arms to tourism, capitalism and is flourishing from both.

Of course, Steve and I had our morning thoughts about our brothers who have died in the past few years. Both served in the Vietnam War (known here as the American War) and we respectfully remember their service to our country with hope for this country. The American influence is strong here.🇺🇸