Wednesday, September 2, 2020

[Photos] The City That Never Sits Still: Traffic in 1965 Saigon

Half a century ago, Saigon was home to many familiar sights as well as some surprising interlopers from across time and space.

In 1965, the city's streets contained the same motorbikes, cyclos, stuffed market stalls and cross-walk scoffing pedestrians that it does today. But a series of photos by Lawrence V. Smith depicts a few oddities amongst the easily-recognizable elements of modern-day Saigon. A variety of large, steel-body cars seemed to take up a more significant percentage of the roadways while a snazzy police officer maintained order from what looks like a stage elevated in the middle of the street. Of course, there are more trees, some of which cast shade upon the Cong Hoa Swimming Pool frequented by foreigners.

This amalgamation of the commonplace and bygone helps illuminate viewers on the origin and development of the city.

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  1. I've noticed there is a lot of congestion - motorbikes, bicycles,
    cars all competing. Are there a lot accidents.
    Also, noticed the women are very ladylike like the women in
    the US use to be but not any more.
    Seems to be a good amount of harmony and respect for each.

    1. Accidents, yes, but normally not severe. Everyone waits until their turn as whoever is first, gets to go. A lost time, as we are, compared to 1965