Click on the photo to see other photos on my Flickr site of Saigon in 1972.
Although beset by smog caused by a million or so motorbikes and trucks, Saigon (now known as Ho Chi Minh City, of course) was a very beautiful city in 1972. Known as the "Paris of the Orient", It retained the French colonial planning with many radial avenues linked by round-abouts with both classical and modern monuments. Although I was often away from Saigon travelling to construction sites, I enjoyed life at the OICC-RVN residence on Dang Duc Sieu (probably subsequently renamed like most streets in HCMC).
I found the Saigon streets to be a very stimulating mix of colonial and modern structures as well as a lot of poor squater shacks. And the smells of incense, charcoal, streeet food stalls, and gutter sewage all combined to stimulate many good memories every time I come across similar smells today.
Since I was working with Vietnamese contractors and construction inspectors, I was able to immerse myself into this setting and culture. It was only when I returned home that I suffered cultural shock as I missed the intenseness of life in Saigon, the density of the city, and the capitalism of its street life.