February 1, 2009

Day 013 : Ho Chi Minh City

This morning I had the pleasure of joining Lien and Sinh on a visit to the home of one of their relatives. I found the living conditions pretty interesting (especially having recently visited the Tenement Museum in NYC with Oliver). The space was relatively small...I'd say maybe 600 square feet and there were at least 5 people living there. Initially I thought that this situation was pretty absurd, but later I would visit an even smaller space (maybe 500 square feet) where there were 20, yes TWENTY, people living (Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me, ugh!). Makes me think we have it pretty well in our over priced, under sized New York City apartments.

This photo is taken from the kitchen looking into the 'living room', and in the back is the 'bedroom'. The overall space it more or less like a shoe box that is then divided into thirds to specify programmatic differences.

Because there are so many people living in such a small space there is a definite need for flexibility. Like many of the street side homes and businesses the space is changing constantly throughout the day. Here you can see how the mattresses are shoved up against the wall to allow for daily activities to happen.

Small space means small stairs. These treads were definitely made for the Vietnamese!
Later that afternoon Lien and Sinh took me to Cu Chi to check out the incredible tunnel system that the guerrilla fighters used to fight the American's during the war. A section of the tunnels have been enlarged to allow big foreigner's (like myself) to experience the underground network.

One of the underground rooms used for emergency medical assistance to wounded soldiers.
Click here for Ho Chi Minh City photos!


  1. Wow, that's very inventive. I thought the butter room was tight, but I didn't have to share it with 4 others. I'm curious about what role the government has taken in actually building new housing options for people, especially in the last decade...

  2. I know right! When I asked locals about the situation the general consensus was that the government has not (and is not) really addressing the problem(s).

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