Location: Ho Chi Minh City (previously Saigon), Vietnam.
Highlight: American Consulate event for US presidential elections
Before getting into the elections debacle, I’ll take a moment or two to talk about what a bustling city HCMC is:
It’s a bustling city. Lots of people and pretty big too.
Anyway, back to the US elections.
After the media had whipped everyone up into a frenzy, we wanted to watch as the drama unfolded.
We Googled somewhere that had an event on, and stumbled across an event at the US Consulate for Vietnam. Free food you say? Big screens you say? No entry fee you say? Sounds like a good idea to me!
So off we trotted, not knowing what to expect.
Whatever we hadn’t expected didn’t come anywhere near what we got.
We were greeted in a swanky aircon hotel-esque foyer and shown to the ‘elevators’. When we reached our floor the doors opened to reveal hundreds of excited people with hats and plastic Hillary & Trump masks on, 90% of who were local Vietnamese – many of which were allowed to be off school to watch, some were workers with american bosses others were Americans working on spreading the word of democracy. And yours truly of course.
The votes were in for everyone who was there, a resounding 79% of people asked wanted a victory for Hillary, the mood was great.
Then results started coming in, but we were too excited about all the freebies (McDonalds, Dunkin Doughnuts and Starbucks – God Bless American corporates) and photo opps.
Spoiler alert for anyone who had the elections results on Sky+ and are waiting for a moment to watch it:
(Donald Trump won)
There were still some cheers flying around when Hillary was given a state which no longer meant anything but the Vietnamese still enjoyed getting behind her.
When the results were in and it was all but certain that DJT would be the new president-elect the Vietnamese Media asked Tom for an interview. The locals we were chatting to said “Woah, Thanh Nien is a huge Vietnam media company!” Gulp.
Link to the interview is here (watch for Simon in the background looking thoroughly unimpressed as the results rolled in)
On a sadder note, one of the school girls that we were talking with was so upset that they don’t live in a democratic country and that if she took to the streets she would be locked up, she was in tears talking about it. Made us grateful for at least having a voice in the UK.
Anyway, enough of that:
Actual Ho Chi Minh City
Highlights of the city were rooftop bars, great street food and a harrowing visit to the War Remnants Museum, in particular the Agent Orange room which showed generations still suffering from genetic deformities caused during the war by the Americans dropping the chemical over Vietnam.
Next stop – Cambodia! Starting in the capital – Phnom Penh.
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Late 20’s Crisis