(Taken in the Reunification Palace)
First a few words about my packing. As the trip was only 4 days (plus the flights), I decided to travel "light".
I wanted to have only one small back pack to carry. It was not so difficult. Apart from the clothes I was wearing, I just took with me few t-shirts and underwear.
Everything else was some electronics stuff : DSLR, Powerbook 15", iPhone (plus cables and adapters). With a compact camera and a netbook it would have been even much lighter. Two useful items I brought : a white Mizuno t-shirt + underwear anti-bacteria, UV protector and that can dry quickly and also a small towel that can dry extremely fast.
The hotel : the New World Hotel, comfortable, nothing really special; filled mainly with business men on trip.
Good point : I always like the choice for breakfast in this kind of hotels, a good start for the day.
Bad point : 18 dollars to surf the net during 24 hours and if you want the wifi in the main hall it costs 18 dollars more!
This last 2 days were dedicated to some historical places visit and shopping.
First we went to the old presidential palace now converted as a museum. This building became famous when a north Vietnamese army tank destroyed the gate, ending the war.
The presidential office, I don't know why often leaders like to have dead animals around... weird imho.
A more traditional room as opposed to the rest of the building (it as been destroyed and rebuilt so I guess these items were from the previous palace).
Presidential garden, nice place to escape the heat.
The underground : with the communication tools, "server room" of this time.
Quite creepy place actually (underground, narrow corridors ...).
Then we went to the war museum, I did not shot too many pictures over there. It is quite an emotional place, I've seen an American woman in tears visiting it. Of course they exposed many shocking photos, especially the ones of victims of chemical stuff...
One corner interested me : about Robert Capa, legend of the photojournalism (he was the only photographer at the D Day in Normandy...). He died in Vietnam (still named Indochina at the time) in 1954 (during the first part of the war, against French). We can see his last photo, few minutes before he walked on a mine that killed him. He is maybe the most famous war photographer.
Life magazine, reporters were more free on the battlefield at that time. Many died to inform the world though.
But sometime with some luck a camera can save your life! I am not sure my Nikon D5000 would be that resistant...
Time to get out for "fresh" air (it was damn hot actually).
A Buddhist temple, to rest the mind :
First time I see this : cigarettes as gift! ...
An other spiritual place, the cathedral built by the French.
The post office which looks like a train station. It's huge and inside of course there's a portrait of our "friend" Ho Chi Minh.
(I've read something interesting about the beginning of the war against French : Ho Chi Minh sent a telegram to the American President asking for help and support in the purpose to become a free country (as the United Nation of the time supported the movement : ending colonialism). Well the least we can say is that he did not get the wished answer : 30 years of war...).
Back to more prosaic thing : some rest at a café.
The best places to surf the web. Each café offers wifi for free, so you can see many people with their laptop.
The most famous market of Ho Chi Minh City : Ben Thanh...
Mmm, how can I say, I checked testimonies on the web before to go : most of people agreed : "best place to find cheap stuff and fun to visit". Well, I did not like it at all!
First prices are not good and even after painful negotiations and the quality is often low... It doesn't worth the shopping in my opinion. And also sellers are quite aggressive, grabbing your arm to stop you and begging at you... I know that as a western guy, I am supposed to be "rich" but the way they try to force me to buy was very unpleasant. So instead to look around and maybe buy some stuff, I quickly wanted to get out of the place. They lose some dollars...
Time to relax and have some good food.
Night show, I recommend this one : the traditional water puppets show, short stories with live singing and music.
Even if we can't understand the words it is real fun. (and they gave us a pamphlet with basic explanations)
Some more street's photography:
In this street sea lion can't ride bicycle :
(sorry for that)
Last night shots from the bus to the airport, trying different settings on the D5000.