Didem Doğan

City walks, Saigon

Though the official name is Ho Chi Minh City, the city is still often called Saigon. The climate is quite different from Hanoi, which we visit later on. Here it’s humid, hot and tiring. The streets are full of thousands of scooters, we cannot figure out how to cross a street, a total chaos it seems at first , but one can sense that there is a set of unwritten set of rules that everybody follows. We are passing through the shopping area, the five star hotels and international brands line up the avenue, this is the most Western, chic part of the city, we see local people taking millions of pictures in front of the shops with Christmas decorations. We go straight to the park, lots of street vendors, selling foods on trolleys, almost all of them women. We reach a square, a French heritage from the colonial times, founded in the 19th century, at one side there’s the Cathedral of Notre Dame with red bricks, the seriousness of churches turn into something more picturesque in tropical countries .At the other side stands a wide elegant palace which is the Post Office. We go inside, a big round entrance, people filling forms, writing postcards, we admire the stamps, sit on a bank and watch the movement, it feels European, and we feel like this wide hall will open to a train station.