60 hours from arrival to departure left me with some overriding impressions of Ho Chi Minh City.
I took a tuc tuc from the War Remnants museum (where I read the sombre statistics of just how many Vietnamese are still being born with disabilities from the thousands of tons of chemical agents sprayed during the war)
and the driver on the way told me that there were over a million scooters in the city. Impossible for me to verify, but I reckon I counted well over 700,000 of them. Every junction, route, road, street, alley, pavement and bar was full of them.
Whilst it must be said that the vast majority of people did have helmets,
they were almost all of the pre 1950’s British style, nothing at all like the safety conscious helmets of today.
Smiles were even more numerous than scooters. When you consider all that the country has been through, and is in fact still going through, the happiness of the Vietnamese people really is incredible. Whilst the youngsters clearly will have no recollections of the war, they will almost definitely have friends or family dreadfully disfigured from the effects of agent orange poisoning.
People smile naturally and easily in Vietnam, whether it was late shopping at the night market
Or almost running you over on the ever present scooter.
Even if you get lost, and bump into 4 retired men drinking beer instead of being at home with their wives, they smile.
60 hours in Vietnam wasn’t enough. I’ll be back.