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Photos from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

 

b-52-drink / A generation ago, B-52 Stratofortress bombers leveled hundreds of square miles of Vietnam. Now the B52 is a US$3 drink in this upscale restaurant.

bob-kerrey-war-crime / Sign in War Remnants Museum says ex-Sen. Bob Kerrey was guilty of a "crime" -- exposed by the New York Times -- for slaughtering civilians in Vietnam in 1969

candy-for-sale / Candy for sale in the Cho Binh Tay Market in the Cholon Chinatown area of the former Saigon

cho-binh-tay-market / Vendors outside the bustling Cho Binh Tay Market in the Cholon Chinatown area of the former Saigon

cho-binh-tay-market-cholon / View from above in the Cho Binh Tay Market in the Cholon Chinatown area of the former Saigon

cho-binh-tay-market-inside / Inside the bustling Cho Binh Tay Market in the Cho Lon Chinatown area of the former Saigon

cholon-temple / Visitors can purchase incense to be burned -- shown here hanging from the ceiling -- in this temple in the Cholon district of the former Saigon

cholon-temple-offerings / Offerings burning in this temple in the Cholon Chinatown district of the city, along the west bank of the Saigon River

cholon-temple-saigon / Visitors can purchase incense to be burned -- shown here hanging from the ceiling -- in this temple in the Cholon district of the former Saigon

electrical-wires-vietnam / Electrical and other wires are strung up on telephone poles more by happenstance than by any actual plan

elephant-foot / Actual, not plastic or a replica, elephant foot. No joking.

elevator-not-for-americans / This 6-person elevator is not designed for Americans. It has a capacity of 400 kg, 880 lbs, meaning each person on average can weigh no more than 146 lbs.

family-motorbikes / There's plenty of room for a fourth person, and some people do that too, on this family-sized motorbike

french-guillotine / French-manufacturered guillotine that a sign at War Remnants Museum says was used to "decapitate the Vietnam patriots" when used in prison on Lagrandiere street

fruit-vendor / Fruit vendor in the Cho Binh Tay Market in the Cholon Chinatown area apparently selling rambutan, so-called hairy lychee fruit

girl-with-net / Girl with net, probably fishing in the nearby waterway, outside the former city of Saigon

gold-for-sale / Perhaps because of the government's rampant inflation, many Vietnamese stores offer to buy and sell gold, in small fractions of an ounce

hats-for-sale / Hats for sale in the Cho Binh Tay Market in the Cholon Chinatown area of the former Saigon

hcmc-motorbikes / Motorbikes in HCMC, or Ho Chi Minh City

ho-chi-minh / Ho Chi Minh, a North Vietnamese politician and revolutionary, remains a revered "Uncle Ho" figure, with his regime's starvation and summary executions overlooked

ho-chi-minh-city / Expansive skyline of Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, that's home to over 9 million people

ho-chi-minh-city-motorbikes / Motorbikes in HCMC, or Ho Chi Minh City

homeland-security-in-vietnam / It's unclear why the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which exists to secure the U.S. homeland, needs to have an office here in the Saigon Center building

incense-cholon-temple / For a small fee, visitors can purchase incense to be burned in this temple in the Cholon district of the former Saigon

kimdo-royal-city-hotel / Kimdo Royal City Hotel at night in the city once called Saigon

meat-for-sale-not-refrigerated / Westerners would be aghast at the meat for sale in this Vietnamese market, which sits on counters for hours at a time without being refrigerated

narrow-vietnamese-homes / There's a reason these homes in the suburbs are so narrow: Vietnam taxes homes primarily based on the size of the footprint, not the total square feet

north-vietnamese-tank / The North Vietnamese Army tank that crashed through the gates of the presidential palace in 1975, ending the Vietnam War

post-office-phone-booths / Beautiful wooden phone booths in the Saigon Central Post Office, built by the French colonials nearly a century ago

presidential-bunker / Bunker in the concrete-lined sub-basement of Vietnam's Reunification Palace

presidential-gambling-room / The South Vietnamese officials knew how to enjoy themselves: this was the so-called gambling room in the presidential palace

presidential-office-vietnam / Presidential office in Vietnam's Reunification Palace, constructed in 1962 and used by National Leadership Committee Chairman Nguyen Van Thieu until 1975

safes-for-sale / With the national currency losing value at 30 percent a year, annualized, Vietnamese use safes to store gold and retain purchasing power

saigon-motorbikes-night / A rush of motorbikes, at night and during the day, makes crossing city streets in the former Saigon no easy task

saigon-notre-dame-basilica / Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, Roman Catholic cathedral in the heart of the city, completed in 1863, now flanked by opportunistic street vendors

saigon-notre-dame-basilica-elephants / Sacred elephants may not be part of Roman Catholic doctrine, but they're common in Vietnam and appear here in the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

saigon-port-night / The port of Saigon at night, on the Saigon River, which flows from southeastern Cambodia to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam

saigon-river / Saigon River, which flows from southeastern Cambodia to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam and is the home of the bustling port of Saigon

saigon-skyline / The colorful skyline in the downtown area of the city formerly called Saigon

shoes-for-sale / Shoes for sale in the Cho Binh Tay Market in the Cholon Chinatown area of the former Saigon

street-vendor-night / Street vendor at night operating the equivalent of a sidewalk cafe

street-vendor-selling-water / Street vendor selling chilled water for a little less than one U.S. dollar, no bargain for locals

temple-paper-prayer / Prayers in paper form -- visitors can pay to have an incription written on them -- in temple in the Cholon Chinatown district of the former Saigon

tiger-cages / War Remnants Museum reproduction of a South Vietnamese tiger cage, brutal cells in which prisoners were tortured. This was documented by Life magazine in 1970.

vietnam-communist-propaganda / Communist propaganda in War Remnants Museum says South Vietnam was a 'dictatorial regime' resisting 'the cause of national unification of Vietnamese People'

vietnam-motorbikes / Motorbikes crowd the streets of every major city in Vietnam, a consequence of expensive-for-locals gas prices and punishing taxes on automobiles

vietnam-motorbikes-night / A rush of motorbikes, at night and during the day, floods city streets in Vietnam

vietnam-motorcycles / Motorcycles at night in the former city of Saigon

vietnam-reunification-palace / Tourists outside Vietnam's Reunification Palace, formerly the South Vietnamese Independence Palace, which fell to North Vietnamese troops in April 1975

war-remnants-museum / Sign in War Remnants Museum boasts the US 101st Airborne Division had 'over double-fold losses' in Vietnam compared with World War II

war-remnants-museum-b52 / Child's artwork by Nguyen Thi Thien Thanh, 12 years old, in War Remnants Museum depicts U.S. B-52s bombing civilians in the Vietnam War

war-remnants-museum-fighter / U.S. Air Force fighter used in Vietnam War now on display for tourists at the War Remnants Museum

war-remnants-museum-gift-shop / Gift shop in War Remnants Museum, with helmets and faux ammunition on sale

window-washer / Window washer in Vietnam's Reunification Palace

 

Declan McCullagh is a photographer who lives and works in San Francisco, California. His photographs are available for licensing and for purchase as signed custom prints.

Photographs and text are copyright © 1989-2007 by Declan McCullagh. All rights reserved. Privacy policy. General licensing information.

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