The Port and the Palace

Today, our group visited one the largest sea ports in Vietnam.

We woke up and took a 45 minute bus ride to the sea. The port, Cat Lai Terminal, was  full of shipping crates and giant cranes. The seaport offers numerous services to numerous clients like storing and distributing goods in shipping crates. This information was given to us from our tour guide who kindly welcomed us. She specifically represented the Saigon Newport Corporation, a state-owned shipping company. She brought us to the one of the corporation’s rooms. She gave us a presentation on the some of the Cat Lai Terminal’s information and statistics. The seaport is the 25th largest in the world. The corporation is just recently implemented a new computer software to help organize the logistics like the contents and weight of the containers. It helps to meet standards of customers and to be more productive. She explained the prime location of the port. The port is very close to Vietnam’s economic hub, Ho Chi Minh City, and it is in close proximity to existing shipping routes. The port is special because it has the potential to become a major world seaport. It was exciting to see an international seaport in action! Our tour guide showed us around more loading sites and the port’s control tower.

After the port, we went to to lunch at Pizza Hut which was actually fantastic. At first, we wondered why we were eating there. But after the recommendation of the University of Finance and Economics personnel, we discovered that pizza was delicious. One of the unique flavors included crab and corn. After lunch we went to Vietnam’s famous Reunification Palace.

The Reunification Palace was pristine with its perfectly landscaped lawn and shining white exterior. The only main problem was the heat. The palace had no air conditioning and was extremely hot. But the palace was a very interesting place. Today, the palace serves as a symbol of the perseverance of the country’s many struggles. We were guided through the entire palace by a welcoming tour guide. She walked us through all the many rooms in the palace, including the president’s bedroom and secret bomb shelter. Before the Vietnam War, the palace acted as the home and headquarters for the president and vice president of Southern Vietnam. During the war, the palace acted similarly but the basement was transformed to act as a secret war room and communication center for the Southern Vietnamese forces. The entire palace seemed to be stuck in the 70’s as it maintained its same interior design from the Vietnam War. The palace literally felt like walking back in time!

Until tomorrow!

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