We started off the day by visiting Cát Lái Terminal, one of the largest ports in Vietnam.
Cát Lái receives imports and exports, where they are held until they are picked up by the owners. Imported and exported goods (but mostly imported) go through customs, which can vary in thoroughness based on the kinds of goods in question. To keep track of all the incoming freight there is a control room where workers keep track of what is coming in. The location of Cát Lái is ideal because it is very near Ho Chi Minh City and other very productive provinces. In addition to dealing with “feeder vessels” (vessels that travel to and from much larger ships that cannot reach the Terminal due to water depth), Cát Lái services small barges that can travel on the Mekong. Cát Lái serves to really tie globalization and development. Cát Lái is a joint venture betwixt Vietnam and the Netherlands, and simply being a port means that the entire operation serves to increase Vietnam’s global presence by facilitating international trade. Increased international trade then leads to further revenue which can be invested in the companies producing the aforementioned goods, leading to further development.
After visiting Cát Lái and a Yummy Yummy lunch we visited the Reunification Palace.
The Reunification Palace used to be known as the Presidential Palace, as ’tis where the President of South Vietnam lived before and during the Vietnam War. After North Vietnam drove a tank through the gate ending the war they named it the Reunification Palace. By renaming the palace the Vietnamese turned the Palace from a symbol of South Vietnam to a symbol of Vietnam as a whole, changing the Palace from a reminder of the country’s dark past to a symbol of the united country’s bright future.