Ho Chi Minh City is still called Saigon by the railways, by older people and by certain expats. It was the capital for many years, under the French and South Vietnamese and is definitely the bigger, much more boisterous older brother to Hanoi. I found the scooter traffic in Hanoi's old quarter a bit difficult to deal with at first, but in HCMC it's different again. The boulevards, wide because they used to feature canals down the middle, are now swarming with thousands of scooters and motorbikes. So much so that at busy junctions they overflow onto the pavements and there is simply no space left for pedestrians at all.
Saigon served as the base for US operations here during the American war and as such, there is a large War Remnants Museum here, formerly called The Museum of Imperialist Aggression and War Crimes, (or something like that). And this is the must-see attraction for all tourists, particularly Americans, French and other pig-dog imperialists looking for a bit of contrition and graphically wrought shame.
Arranged over three floors, plus a set of gruesome prison cells in the courtyard, the museum in my estimation seems to be arranged according to three loose themes. 1) The effects of the mighty American war machine on the small but resilient country of Vietnam during the years 62-72. 2) The tragic legacy of the aggressor's use of chemical weapons (especially Agent Orange and the incomparably poisonous dioxin it contains), and the thousands of tons of unexploded ordnance and mines that still claim limbs and lives to this day. 3) The barbaric, sadistic and murderous attention given to North Vietnamese individuals imprisoned at Con Dao on the island of Con Son by French rulers from 1861, and later the South Vietnamese under the approving supervision of thirty CIA officers stationed there.
It certainly proves there's a well established precedent for Guantanamo Bay, and the secret interrogation sites the CIA currently hides, and the British collude with. Though the atrocious violence meted out to insurgents at this island was considerably more brutal and medieval than what we've been told about the former. And don't forget this was well after the 1949 signing of the Geneva convention.
The Opera House in Saigon.
Tiger cages - up three men may be incarcerated in the smaller one, not much bigger than a coffin, and seven in the larger one, unable to move or escape the hot sun.