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Andy’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 07 Feb 2007

Location: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

MapDRIVE TO HO CHI MINH
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Another country meant another border crossing. The differences in architecture between the two border points were striking. The Cambodian side represented classic Southeast-Asian styles, with peaked roofs and long, dragon-neck appendages. A few hundred metres away, across no mans land, stood the Vietnamese buildings; modern, functional, and grey. In short stereotypically socialist. Dominating the front of the building was a tall obelisk statue capped by a stylised technological wheel. It evoked ideas of industry, progress, speed and the future. Communism was first and foremost an ideology of modernity.

On the Vietnamese side our visas and passports were checked four times in the space of 20 metres. Now thats efficiency for you. Why bother with unemployment when you can just create unnecessary jobs?

The drive to our first city was uneventful, but the scenes outside kept my attention. Many of the urban buildings in Vietnam are more modern than in Cambodia, perhaps postmodern - a real eclectic mix of styles, shape, colour and structure. Circles, triangles and disjointed lines appeared very popular. It reminded me of many French townscapes.

After a few hours on a coach we arrived in Ho Chi Minh, our first destination in Vietnam.