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Nothing speaks louder of Ho Chi Minh’s colonial past than its French-style buildings which dot the cityscape. I reckon that if it weren’t for the decidedly humid climate and the “moto” madness, I would think I am right smack in the middle of downtown Paris. I would later find out that they call this part of town the Paris Commune Square (all together now – “Oooh, I see!”)

One of these buildings is the Saigon Central Post Office. Located right next to Notre Dame Cathedral, this magnificent structure can easily pass for a residence of a high ranking official or a very important government office.

Saigon Central Post Office

Facade - Saigon Central Post Office

Front - Saigon Central Post Office

A large portrait of Uncle Ho greets you once you step inside the cavernous hall. For a moment there, I was distracted by the small tiangge occupying its middle section which reminded me that once upon a time, Vietnam struggled between socialism and capitalism.

Inner decor

The well-preserved inner decor harkens to an earlier, more elegant and relaxed time. Can you see those classic phone booths made of hardwood?  Perfect for a film set in the 1950s, don’t you think?

Designed and constructed by Gustave Eiffel (yup, of the Eiffel Tower fame!)

But what truly made my day was the beautiful juxtaposition between old and new, modern and outdated technology. I saw these wide-eyed, precocious toddlers seriously taking cue from their teachers on the finer details of snail-mailing.

Snail Mail in the Digital Age

A lesson in snail mail appreciation

Post Office Queue

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2 thoughts on “Of Snail Mail and Post Office Queues

  1. Ganda ng interior ng Post Office nila. Our CPO near Lawton looks so grand from outside with the columns and all that but inside it’s … ngek, hahaha!
    I like the fact that those elegant phonebooths are still in use. But the best part really are your shots of those kids learning about snail mail. 🙂

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