In April 2000 I returned to Saigon to see what changed, what stayed the same.
Officially it's Ho Chi Minh City, but those who live there still call it Saigon.
In this time-exposure photograph lightning heralds an approaching storm as traffic leaves luminous trails. Awash in light, right, is The Continental Hotel, but the war-era terrace bar, aptly called the Continental Shelf, is gone now. At center Eden Building was home to the Associated Press bureau where I worked. For a time I had an apartment in Eden as well. Glowing white behind Eden is City Hall, where Maureen Vaughan and I married in 1974. At left bathed in yellow light is the Rex Hotel, a war-time billet for U.S. military personnel and JUSPAO, the Joint US Public Affairs Office. One went there to secure press credentials. Dark at lower left is where the daily briefing was held - the so-called Five O'Clock Follies. It is a shop now. The victors razed a South Vietnamese war memorial which stood in the plaza. A fountain stands there now. War-time Saigon was a colonial city of low buildings. The office tower, background right, is new.
Photos and text © Neal Ulevich 2000. All rights reserved
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