Vietnam War haunts are now for dong millionaires

Hotel Continental

“The bars of Saigon were home for two generations of war correspondents, the reporters who covered the French and American conflicts. They offered an essential interlude between forays out of the city to the battlefields of Vietnam. Some of them were hotel bars, others back street dives. The older ones, like the Continental and the Majestic, figured in novels of the French Indochina War, by writers such as Graham Greene and Jean Lartéguy. Later the Caravelle became the American media headquarters. One of the attractions of the most popular bars was their rooftop location: at times of crisis in the city they became vantage points for viewing the action. Now they are luxury leisure scenes for rich tourists. The old drinking haunts of war correspondents in Saigon are now firmly embedded in the luxury global tourist circuit, at prices no local hack could ever afford. A recent investigation on behalf of The Baron established that the great wartime bars are alive and well, flourishing as capitalist outposts in communist Vietnam. After years of austerity, they are raking in the dollars again, just as they did in the old days. Only the customers are different. Instead of hard-drinking foreign correspondents on expenses, the visitors sipping cocktails on the rooftop terraces these days are well-heeled travellers on upmarket tours, or passengers from cruise liners moored in the Saigon River. They are just passing through. They are not media and they’re not resident. In fact, there have been no resident Western media here since the end of the American war in 1975. The Vietnamese authorities allow foreign journalists to be based up north in Hanoi, the politically correct capital, but not in this bustling commercial city, with its dodgy black market morals and potentially subversive politics. It’s an odd experience to be back here as a tourist – and a local currency millionaire. …”
The Baron
diaCritics: Mai Lan Gustafsson’s “The Warlore of Vietnamese Bargirls,” Part 1, Part 2
The Sexual Warfare of Saigon’s Bar Girls (Feb. 1 1968)
30 Amazing Black and White Photographs of Vietnamese Bar Girls During the War

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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