Journal of my Tour by jeep of Thailand, Cambodja and Vietnam, November, 1956, p.41


NOVEMBER, 1956 , page 41

It didn't take long for me to reach the outskirts of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City). The Chinese part, Cholon, was very busy and colorful. I greatly enjoyed the views and was fascinated by the girls in their graceful dresses (chongsam?): a conical woven straw hat tied under the chin with a wide colored ribbon, long braids. a long silk dress with double splits to the hip and silk pants underneath, all of it made their figures appear like fairies. Without exception they all had naughty flirtatious eyes. I managed to take this photograph while driving with one hand and like the result!

I followed the traffic to center city, drove past the station on Boulevard Bonard or Le Loi - by its new name - and looked for a parking spot. Finally I noticed an empty spot where some U S Marines and Vietnamese Police were standing on the sidewalk. I got out of the jeep, walked around a bit, along the river packed with sampans, bought an expensive guidebook in the Tourist Office, then returned to my jeep and found out that this parking spot was reserved for the U.S. Ambassador...I then drove to the Dutch Consulate-General to meet the staff and enjoy a good cup of coffee. It appeared that only very few Dutch lived in Saigon. I was told it was rather dull now and by far not as interesting as before the war (WW2)
NOTE: March 9, 2002: Little did I then surmise about Saigon's future and the Vietnam War, its change of name and government, but here are some photographs of Saigon in May, 1998)

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