The first activity on today’s agenda was visiting the Cat Lai Terminal. This terminal is the port and warehouse where import and exports go to enter or leave Vietnam. It is one of the largest ports in Vietnam. When any goods reach the terminal, they must go through customs where government employees inspect the good with an X-ray machine to determine their legality and if they are permitted into the country. At first glance, keeping track of all of the containers of good seemed like a nightmare. However, the more time we spent at the port, the more I realized that they have the entire process down to a science. The process is headed in the control tower where employees update the logistics of the all the goods that leave and enter Vietnam. This is where the update the location, contents, and status of containers. They get all this information via walkie talkie from workers that are working on the ground. Additionally, there are many workers that are responsible for the transport or moving of containers. As a whole, the process runs very smoothly and efficiently.
Cat Lai Terminal is the perfect location because it is located directly is the most economically active part of the country. Additionally, a port located in Vietnam is especially ideal because it is in the middle of Asia where the transport of a lot of goods occur.
In the afternoon, we visited the Reunification Palace. Before the war, the palace was known as the Presidential Palace because it housed the president of the South. After the North took over the palace in 1975, it was widely understood that the war was over. Today, the palace is more of a symbol that represents the roots of the South while simultaneously looking forward. To the Vietnamese it is important to move forward and not dwell in the past. Although the palace is a museum of the past during the war, its name indicates the forward thinking of the Vietnamese people.