First excursion in Saigon we decided to do was the 'Hop On/Hop Off' Bus Tour of the city; convenient method to get an orientation of the city, and to decide where maybe to explore in more detail. Decided the Fine Arts Museum would be worth a visit, so off we went. BUT, as is the case thru-out the world, Monday is 'Museum Closed' Day ! Who knew (remembered) it was Monday ?!
So, off we went to the 'Palace'. The image of it earlier in my lifetime was of the person clinging to the helicopter landing strut as it lifted off from the Palace rooftop in April 1975. The Palace is now a museum with fancy furniture and decoration. It was originally constructed 1868-73 as the French Adminstrative Headquarters / Residence of the Govenors- General of French Indochina. It was occupied briefly by Japan in 1945 before returning to French control until 1954/55 when it became Independence Palace under President Diem of the State of Vietnam.
Watching the grade-school children beginning their tour of the site was evidence that kids are kids world-wide, regardless of the nation's politics. Their innate enjoyment of life is a contagious 'disease' that should be a manadatory innoculation for 'adults'.
Saigon is a city of contrast with small quiet tree-lined streets existing almost alongside noisy traffic congested streets/avenues. More 'modern' than Phnom Penh, but I'm not so sure that is advantageous. Tomorrow we are to visit the Vietnam/USA War era Cu Chi Tunnels outside of Saigon.
Ciao for now