Saigon's streets in the early 90s from a Honda Cub - Rusty Compass travel blog

Saigon's streets in the early 90s from a Honda Cub

| 11 Sep 2014
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11 Sep 2014

This is some footage shot riding along Saigon's streets on a Honda Cub in the early 1990s.

Last year I posted some videos I shot of Saigon in the early nineties. Here’s another, shot from the trusty Honda Cub I owned during my first few years in the city.

I was riding and providing the inane commentary and dear friend Cherie Marriott was in control of the camera.

It was a time when the rich rode Honda Dreams while most rode bicycles, where cyclos were a major source of traffic congestion and where the Saigon skyline peaked at the Palace and Caravelle (pre-renovation) hotels. Those familiar with the modern Saigon willl see the 1993 skyline is free of Diamond Plaza, The Metropolitan, the Vincoms, The Caravelle extension and the Sheraton.

The former US Embassy was the office of an oil company (it was demolished in 1998 to make way for the current US Consulate). Traffic lights routinely pointed the wrong way down one-way streets (nobody had bothered to change them since before 1975). The most conspicuous police and military vehicles were US Army Jeeps left over from the hasty 1975 departure.

Many major roads, including Huynh Van Banh St, the street on which I lived in Phu Nhuan District, were dusty dirt tracks.

Local women weren’t fond of dark skin from sun exposure but the concern didn’t warrant the head to toe coverage that is typical for women today in the Saigon traffic. Cosmetic surgery was unheard of.

Lobo, the Eagles and Brian Adams were cool - that bit hasn’t changed much.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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