Thursday, November 6, 2014

Saigon, Vietnam

Today was a great day!

First stop.....  where else?

Then it was off to Independence Palace.  Today's site occupies the former site of the French colonial Governor General's residence, built in 1871.  In 1954, it became home to the new President of Sai Gon Republic Ngo Dinh Diem.  On April 30, 1975, Liberation Forces entered the grounds, raising the liberation flag.  General Duong Van Minh surrendered and the south was liberated.

This tank is a replica of the T57 that smashed through the front gates on April 30, 1975-

The architectural style of the palace is symbolic because it's in the shape of the character that means good fortune-

The furniture still reflects the 1960s!  This is the Ambassador's Chamber, done in Japanese - style laqueur work.  April 18, 1975 was the last time this room was used and that was when the newly appointed Japanese ambassador was visiting-

On April 8, 1975, the palace was bombed.  Only the helicopter pad and the main central staircase were damaged, but this prompted the final evacuation of Americans from Saigon.

Here is the cabinet room where the last Prime Minister was being sworn in when the news of surrender arrived-

This is the President's War Room which was two stories below ground.  From here, he could remain in constant contact with the U.S. Embassy-

This is the state banquet room.  It could seat up to 100 people-

The traffic here is mental!

Of course a scooter ride was in order-

The Behn Thanh Market is one of the earliest surviving structures in Saigon-

It's a busy place selling everything like hats

clothes made to order-

coffee, dried fruit and candy-


and fish-

I had a pretty good pho-

This woman was selling rambutan and longan from her bicycle-

Tomorrow it's off to the Cu Chi tunnels and Mui Ne beach!

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