Saigon Skydeck: Closeup from Afar

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No visit to a new country for me is complete without an attempt to visit a Very High Viewpoint! Last weekend (was it only last week?) when I went to Ho Chi Minh City I went to the Saigon Skydeck where unlike many Very High Points use of the high power BINOCULARS ARE FREEE! (More on the binoculars in a bit…)

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Ah! Look at these gentle carefree holidaymakers sitting outside this touristic viewpoint spot. This picture at the foot of the tower makes it look like going to this tower would be like going to visit other skydecks around the world where you’re next to shopping malls and starbucks and all the other regular, humdrum accoutrements of modern life – but don’t be fooled! This was nothing like the other skydecks I had visited in recent times (the walkie talkie in london, or melbourne skydeck88, or singapore’s 1-altitude). Most skydecks are located in the CBD of the city, and most CBDs are full of futuristic skyscrapers which look the same whether you are in Singapore or in Europe. Ho Chi Minh is no different, but then THE ROADS; THE ROADS, THEY ARE DIFFERENT.

I’m not sure whether I am pleased to find that it wasn’t like just walking through a generic urban CBD to the Skydeck. Is it good for everyday tasks like crossing the roads to feel like massive challenges? I guess this is Life for a lot of people. For me (as a visitor to Ho Chi Minh on a very short first time visit), the walk to Bitexco Financial Tower involved lots of defensive jazz-hands at the nonstop onslaught of motorbikes and a couple of near-death experiences (because if you horn at me my instinct is to stop or even walk backwards – very confusing to drivers and very bad form in Ho Chi Minh I know). And that makes going to the roof a bit different; to be gleefully plucked away from the mess and terror of the roads.

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One great thing about the Saigon Skydeck is that the binoculars are FREE! I spent a very long time playing with it. Here are some of the shots taken through the viewpoint of the binoculars:

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Here you can see how all the houses in Saigon are stacked on top of one another, all higgledy-piggledy. I’m not sure if there is an explanation for this but this viewpoint gives me the impression that a lot of development here is all random piecemeal bits stuck together at different times.

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I saw two men standing in the middle of a deserted construction site. One of them crouched on the ground for a long time and I watched him eventually stand up but he did not do anything. Two men who don’t know I’ve been staring intently at them with a giant telescope from the top of Saigon Skydeck. I must have watched them for over 5 minutes but they just didn’t walk around or do anything. They were probably talking but I don’t have a sonic telescope.

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Distant ribbon barriers on an incomplete high rise building, fluttering in the wind…

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Floating pontoons and machinery slowly moving in the distance…

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Nonstop traffic in the middle of busy intersection… imagining whether the people below know that someone is spying closely on them from far away…
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I’ll end here with a picture of Nguyen Hue from above…