Day one in Vietnam was like a kaleidoscope. Before this trip I’d never left Europe. There were sights and colours and smells and sounds that I’d never experienced before and I felt like everything deserved a picture. I’ve narrowed down day one to these four shots. I think they capture the essence of the experiences of the first day.
Vietnam, and especially Ho Chi Minh, strikes me as an incredibly industrious place. Everyone, it seems, is working on something, either at home, or at their place of employment. On the building sites there are both men and women, lifting and heaving bricks and turning the cement. There are plenty of constructions sites in Ho Chi Minh it seems, everywhere there is a new tower block, bridge or railway being built. The money, we were told whilst we were out there, comes from China, Taiwan, Singapore, and foreign investors are reshaping old Saigon.
On the first day the “street” culture fascinated me. Because of the tropic temperatures (32 degrees when we arrived) everyone eats and sits on the street during the day in the shade of Ho Chi Minh’s many trees. I loved the trees. We were in a bustling metropolis, yet the air was clean in places, and the green of the trees offset the grey of the buildings beautifully.
Like any large city, the wealth disparity was striking: poor and rich collided constantly, the large, generally unaffordable white Range Rovers mingling with the chugging motorbikes and mopeds. Ho Chi Minh was an eye-opening experience and changed my perspective on many things. Over the next few weeks, I’ll tell you about them.
The last image is of Bến Thành (Ben Thanh) Market, which deserves a post of it’s own.