Border between Casmbodia and Vietnam

Vietcong veteran with photos of Marx, Lenin and Uncle Ho

The Mekong Delta

We crosssed the border into Vietnam Around 6.00 am Sunday. We visited island communities in the Mekong Delta Sunday and Monday. Families now are encouraged to start individual enterprises and avoid reliance on the state. We visited a boat builder, a pharmacist and a number of people in the textile business. We met a Vietcong veteran complete with photos of Marx, Lenin and Ho Chi Minh.

After unification in 1975, the government abolished private enterprise, introduced collective farming and based shopping on vouchers. A prime example of how socialism can never work is the case of the water buffalo.The government declared that all water buffalo would be owned in common. As a consequence, no individual took responsibility for their welfare and all of them perished. Everyone had to queue in the shops, many - notably the boat people - fled the country.

Delta village

Delta village loom

Can Tho

This is the largest population Centre in the Mekong Delta.

Ho Chi Minh Can Tho

Market Can Tho

Floating Market Can Tho

Can Tho floating market

The Water Buffalo

The Water Buffalo is Vietnam's National Animal. It is a source of meat and milk. It provides power to transport goods and assist in plowing fields. Before 1975 families farming land in the Meking Delta would own Water Buffalo and treat them well,

The victorious Communist government sought to re-structure society on socialist lines after 1975. The farming land in the Delta would be collectivised and held in common. Ownership of the Water Buffalo would pass to the population in general.

The consequence of this was the collapse of agriculture in the Mekong Delta. The people faced starvation. Where everyone shares ownership of the Water Buffalo no one takes responsibility for their welfare. All the Water Buffalo in the Mekong Delta died.



Water Buffalo of the Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta

using various forms of transport we explored village paths and  watercourses of an island called Ban Tre in the Delta. The whole area was lush with all kinds of fruuh.A true jungle environment. Now back to the ship as it heads for Saigon.

Traversing the island watercourses

Mekong Island

Heading for Saigon


we docked in Saigon about 5.30 pm Wednesday and disembarked 08.00 am Friday. The morning was spent on a tour of the city centre. This involved the colonial period Continental Hotel and Norte Dame Cathedral.

We visited two mportant buildings. The first was the PresidentIan Palace. Most interesting was the basement command centre, used during the Tet offensive in 1968.The last South Vietnam President, General Minh surrendered here in April 1975. North Vietnam tanks on the lawn, were of the type used to batter down the gates on the last day. The second building was the museum of the Vietnam War.


We saw the roof of the building used by helicopters to fly out US personal and their associates as the city fell: just one helicopter at a time. We both checked in to our hotel and I went for a swim. We both then went up to the observation deck on the 49th floor of the BTEXCO building.

Approaching Saigon

Saigon waterrfront

Continental Hotel: used in The Quiet American

Norte Dame Cathedral

Saigon from the 49th floor observation deck at the Bitexco Tower Saigon

Presidential Palace Saigon

President Thieu occupied the palace from  its completion in 1966 until its fall to the BVA in April 1975. We saw the President' office, the Cabinet room and the impressive reception room. Most interesting was the basement command centre: still possessing what now seems old fashioned macHubert such as teleprinters, maps and telephones that the user must dial. The most popular part of the grounds - at least with the seekers after selfies - is the positioning of two NVA tanks similar to the one that broke through the gate on the last day: 30th April 1975.

Presidential Palace Saigon

Command Centre

Command Centre

NVA Tank in the Palace grounds

War Remnants Museum

This was highly tendentious in its presentation of what they ter US aggression. The 'war crimes' section describes US breaches of the Geneva Convention such as that at My Lai. There is no acknowledgement that atrocities might have been carried out by both sides. There is no mention at all of ARVN's role in the war. Overall, the intention seems to  be that this was a war of national independence: not a determined effort to impose Communism across north and south, whether or not people wanted it.


The presentation of the effects of Agent Orange was powerful, harrowing and justified. The ' photography of the war ' section was good and that on journalists//cameramen killed outstanding.

Map of the war Saigon

War Remnants Museum

Then Comrades come rally .....

US river patrol boat

Cu Chi Tunnels

Theere were many in the Delta who had fought for independence from France, They now objected to the lack of progress on unification. They rebelled against the South  Vietnam government and later the Americans,

A guerilla wardeveloped and intheDelta a network of tunnels evolvedandwereused to support guerilla tactics. Over time hit and run tactics developed

Tunnel entrance

Tunnel Entrance

Entrances problem

Saigon City at Night

St. Valentine's night showed a lively city of Saigon. We started with a 'sundowner' at the Red Hotel GardenBar. This was the location of the '5 0'clock follies', where the US military would brief the world's press core on progress of the Vietnam war.  The optimistic reports ry flathead true. Hence the'follies.'

This was our last niight in Saigon.

The Rex Hotel

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Metropole Hotel Hanoi: wher DONALD Trump met Kim Jon Un. We stayed here.


we flew from Saigon to Hanoi on Saturday. We toured three sites on Sunday. The structures today date first was the Confucian Temle of Literatute. This was built 1000 years ago but the structures standing today date from the mid 1400s.

The second was the Mausoleum of Zho Chi Minh. We filed past his embalmed body. We went on to view his small house and his house on stilts.Our third visit was to the 'Hanoi Hilton' the prison used for American captives during the Vietnam war. John McCain figured prominently in the exhibition.

Temple of Literature Hanoi

Temple of Literature

Hi Chi Minh Mausoleums

Hi Chi Minh Stilts House

How lo prison. Hanoi Hiltoñ

Hanoi Hilton

Hanoi Hilton

Ha long Bay

The famous Karsts in Halong Bay are hugely popular. We travelled four hours by bus from Hanoi, through the port city of Haiphong. We spent 24 hours on a a boat called the 'Paraduse Elegance' with an Other tour party. We sailed around the bay, climbed a Karst, visited a Pearl farm and walked through a series of caves.

Halong Bay

Halong Bay Karts

Ha long Bay Cave

Joan Baez recording in bunker of Metropole Hotel Hanoi

Bunker at Metropole Hotel Hanoi

Metropole Hotel Hanoi

Hoam Kiel Lake Hanoi

Old Market French Quarter Hanoi

St. Joseph’s RC Cathedral Hanoi