more change

No matter where you are in and around Sai Gon it’s hard not to notice the Bitexo Financial Tower as it dominates the landscape. Construction is due to be complete later in 2010 of the 68 floors and 3 basement levels built to resemble a lotus, the symbol of Viet Nam. When complete over 10,000 people will be able to work in this building. GULP! That’s correct, 10,000 people, so that’s why they’ve built 7 basements allowing for 33,000 square metres of parking. Great stuff! But what about the already over clogged roads. How will they cope with the extra traffic I wonder.

However, the solution to traffic issues is evident in the photo. You only need buy a helicopter and viola, your commuting problems are over. Personally I think it’s strange that they provide a heli-pad in a country where there are, to this date at least, no privately owned helicopters. The only choppers around are the large ones used for the off-shore oil industry and those used by the military. Weird!


ever changing face of Sai Gon

The small hems (alleys) in this city are a never-ending source of fascination. If I get bored with working in my home office the thing to do is head off in some new direction and get lost among the thousands of alleys that criss-cross most residential city blocks.

However, the rapidity with which the hems are changing is quite mind boggling as the older house are being torn down and replaced with larger modern dwellings. Very often, people of poor means in tiny old houses are being bought out by the more affluent because the land is becoming so valuable, especially close to the centre of Sai Gon.

In a way it’s a pity that all the old houses will eventually disappear and an Australian friend of mine, upon seeing the quaint old house below commented, “houses like that should be preserved”. However, that idea is impractical as the population increases and building blocks become scarce.

Apart from that, despite a romantic appearance, most old house would be dismal to occupy, many having no running water or adequate light and ventilation etc.

Old houses like this…

old house

are being demolished every day…


to make way for modern dwellings like this…

new house

stairway to heaven??

This is the rear of an office block under construction in District 3. The assembly of 4 bamboo ladders tied together enables workers to render and paint the outside of the building. It’s very typical of the type of scaffolding provided for workers here. As they complete a section the ladders are moved horizontally along the face of the building. The ladder is only suspended from the top and swings in any breeze. I’ve yet to see a worker attached to a safety line of any sort.

Workplace Health & Safety in Australia would have a field day with this one!


Top of the ladder showing method of suspension


Bottom of the ladder


Close-up of join between 2 ladders.