This is another of a series of E-mails that I sent back to my friends in America during my trip through Vietnam in late 2005.
Original post date: 13 Dec 2005
I'm finally in Saigon and will be here for the rest of
my trip. It's been a little tough trying to get to an
Internet cafe' here. This might be the last time you
hear from me while I'm in Vietnam so I'll make the
best of this message.
I was shocked as to what I had seen in Hanoi when I
first arrived there. My shock is doubled here in
Saigon. There is a huge difference between here and
the North in just about every aspect. It's like being
in another country. I'm glad that I visited Hanoi
first, because I wouldn't appreciate the difference as
much if I didn't.
I arrived at Tan Son Nhut airport a couple nights ago,
and was driven throught the brunt of Saigon on the way
to where I am staying. There a so many lights, and so
many things going on here. Comparing Saigon to Hanoi
would be like comparing Las Vegas to Sacramento
(Saigon being Las Vegas).
The natives in Saigon are more like me in size. Most
are in pretty good shape, but there are many that are
fat like I was (I think I lost 10-15 pounds so far on
this trip). The differences between North and South
people go much further than that.
The people in the South for the most part don't care
for communism or Ho Chi Minh while the people in the
North seem to be brainwashed to think the opposite.
One of my aunts indicates that the South don't believe
that Ho Chi Minh actually won the war, but rather the
American stopped fighting. Many still call this city
Saigon instead of Ho Chi Minh City. If you could see
what I've seen, you would question if the South
actually lost the war.
The lifestyle is much more open and less stuffy than
the North. It is difficult to describe this without
seeing it firsthand. You can sense freedom here where
you didn't sense it as much in Hanoi.
If there is such a thing as a Northern or Southern
Vietnamese, I would certainly be a Southern boy. I can
easily blend in here where I stood out like I was
wearing a bright green T-shirt in Hanoi.
The economy in the South is much better and more
active than the North. There are a lot more cars,
newer scooters and better drivers here. Saigon has an
incredible skyline with new high rise buildings being
built in droves. There is a lot more European style
accomodations which is better suited for American
travel. I feel much safer being an American in Saigon
than in Hanoi.
Some of you know that I started school in Saigon. I
attended a private school that I will try to find
before I leave. The reason for being in Saigon is
mostly for business, and I won't be spending as much
time being a tourist as I had in the North. I will do
my best to capture as many pictures as I can though.
It looks like I have to go right now. I'll do my best
to write again before I head back to the states. My
other E-mail account is flooded right now, so send you
questions and comments to me at ###.####.