Bill and Sue-On Hillman: A 50-Year Musical Odyssey


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After our return to Saigon from our Mekong Delta adventure we left our hotel to walk around the city, to shop, and to find a good place for supper. Soon after leaving the hotel we encountered backed up traffic on our street -- so backed up and glutted that the sidewalks on both sides of the street were taken over by motorbikes trying to find shortcuts. We soon discovered the reason for this hazardous situation. The main street was blocked off to allow an endless stream of army buses to reach the various stage and park areas were the military was to be part of the next day's 40th Anniversary Events. 

Thousands of troops were being bused in by vehicles that stretched back for many kilometers. To reach the shopping and eating areas we had to cross the street -- impossible. Bill saw a nearby traffic warden and he waved and shouted "Help!" The officer came to our rescue and led us through the melee while waving his flashlight. We made it.

We carried on to a large CO.OP supermarket to buy munchies and drinks for next day's bus trip to Cambodia. But we found when we reached the check-out area that we didn't have enough Vietnamese dong currency. Most of the places we had visited accepted US dollars, but not so here. We returned some of the goods to the display shelves and carried on down the street looking for an eatery. 

The eating places were all on the other side of the street so we made a dash through a lull in the military convoy. The young troops in the line of buses leaned out of the windows to smile and wave and ask us to take their photos. Quite an exciting night. Eventually we decided to dine at a Japanese restaurant. After a good meal we strolled back toward our hotel to prepare for tomorrow morning's departure. By this time traffic had returned to normal, but there were many other fascinating sights along the way, including an outdoor rock climbing wall under lights. 

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Survival on the Streets
Thousands of troops were being bussed in for rehearsals for the Anniversary Celebrations.
Some streets were blocked off.
Traffic was shoulder to shoulder on sidewalks and streets.

Trying to walk on the sidewalks was very hazardous.
But crossing the street was impossible.
Bill saw a traffic warden and waved and shouted "HELP!"
The officer jumped in with his flashlight and waved us through.


Down a quieter street to the CO.OP Supermarket

Picked up a basket of supplies but we had to put half of them back.
Not enough Dung - and US dollars weren't accepted here.


 Army Bus Convoy  ~ Many kilometres long
The blocked off street allowing passage of 6,000 troops to the Celebration Stands

Friendly Smiles, Shouts and Waves From All The Troops
"Take my photo!"

Evening Meal at a Japanese Restaurant

Late Night Stroll Back to Hotel
Past a rock climbing wall by a vacant lot

Back to the hotel to
prepare for an long rough drive to Cambodia tomorrow


1. Road Back To Saigon ~ 2. Night in Saigon
3. Saigon to Cambodia I ~ 4. Saigon to Cambodia II


Copyright 2015
Bill and Sue-On Hillman