The communist party renamed Saigon in honor of their most popular leader, Ho Chi Minh. Many Vietnamese refer to Ho Chi Minh as Uncle Ho. He helped push the Americans out of Vietnam during the Vietnam War and reunited the country.
The city comes alive at 6 am in the morning. The traffic is crazy. Several cars and motorcycles almost hit me as I jogged my early morning run. As I crossed the road, motorcyclists come from every direction. I put my life in jeopardy every time by just crossing the road. Motorcyclists drive on the wrong side of the road, take short cuts, drive on sidewalks, etc.
The food is excellent and differs significantly from Thai and Cambodia food. Everyone enjoys a bowl of soup or pho. Restaurants place greens, shredded cabbage, mint leaves, and bean sprouts to the side. Then people add the fresh green to the soup, so the soup warms them but does not cook them.
Vietnamese are prolific coffee drinkers. I drank several ice coffees from the street, where the sales people needed a license to sell the coffee as a drug. As a prolific coffee drinker, I became buzzed and light headed while I drank Vietnamese coffee.
- Area of the country spans 128,565 square miles, making Vietnam the 65th largest country in the world.
- The currency is the Vietnamese dong.
- The capital is Hanoi
- About 8 million inhabitants live in Ho Chi Minh, the largest city. Saigon was the former name.
- Ho Chi Minh contributes about 20% to Vietnam's economy.
- In 2014, the population was estimated at 90.6 million.
- Although the Communist Party still controls Vietnam, the government allows a market economy to flourish.
- Economists believe Vietnam will become one of the fastest growing economies of the world.
The Americans controlled the skies and the ground during the Vietnam War. Thus, the Vietnamese, or Viet Cong went underground and constructed a labyrinth of tunnels. One network of tunnels, Cu Chi tunnels, are located outside of Ho Chi Minh, formerly known as Saigon. Vietnamese used guerrilla tactics and were resourceful. They recycled everything left over from the American war machine. The recycled old, unexploded bombs and made new weapons. The used old tires to make flip-flops for the soldiers.
Although the Vietnamese were out matched and possessed inferior weapons, they persevered and forced the Americans to withdraw, thus, winning the war.