VIJETNAM – VIETNAM

Katedrala u Sajgonu-A cathedral in Saigon

Katedrala u Sajgonu-A cathedral in Saigon

Katedrala u Sajgonu-Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

Katedrala u Sajgonu-Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

Kolonijalne kuce u Hoi Anu-Colonial style buildings in Hoi An's old quarter

Kolonijalne kuce u Hoi Anu-Colonial style buildings in Hoi An’s old quarter

Kolonijalne kuce u starom gradu na obali-Colonial style buildings in Hoi An's old quarter at the waterfront

Kolonijalne kuce u starom gradu na obali-Colonial style buildings in Hoi An’s old quarter at the waterfront

Komunisticki slogan-A communist slogan

Komunisticki slogan-A communist slogan

Kuca u kojoj je snimljen Tihi Amerikanac-A house where The Quiet American was filmed

Kuca u kojoj je snimljen Tihi Amerikanac-A house where The Quiet American was filmed

Main Post Office in Saigon-Glavna posta u Sajgonu

Main Post Office in Saigon-Glavna posta u Sajgonu

Mala luka-A small port in Phu Quoc Island

Mala luka-A small port in Phu Quoc Island

Masaza na plazi-Massage on the beach

Masaza na plazi-Massage on the beach

Nasmejane Vijetnamke-Smiling Vietnamese ladies

Nasmejane Vijetnamke-Smiling Vietnamese ladies

Opera u Hanoju-Hanoi Opera House

Opera u Hanoju-Hanoi Opera House

Plaza na ostrvu Fukok - A beach on the Phu Quoc Island

Plaza na ostrvu Fukok – A beach on the Phu Quoc Island

Plaza na ostrvu Fukok-A beach on the Phu Quoc Island

Plaza na ostrvu Fukok-A beach on the Phu Quoc Island

Pruga ide kroz grad-A railroad running through the city

Pruga ide kroz grad-A railroad running through the city

Saobracajna guzva-Traffic jam

Saobracajna guzva-Traffic jam

Susenje lignji na suncu-Drying squid in the sun

Susenje lignji na suncu-Drying squid in the sun

U kolonijalnoj kuci-In the colonial house

U kolonijalnoj kuci-In the colonial house

U parku u Hanoju-In the park in Hanoi

U parku u Hanoju-In the park in Hanoi

Vreme je za rucak-Lunchtime

Vreme je za rucak-Lunchtime

Zajednicki rucak-A lunch for the whole family

Zajednicki rucak-A lunch for the whole family

Zaliv Halong - Ha Long Bay

Zaliv Halong – Ha Long Bay

Zaliv Halong-Ha Long Bay

Zaliv Halong-Ha Long Bay

Zene u belom na biciklu-Women in white riding a bike

Zene u belom na biciklu-Women in white riding a bike

Ogromna drvena džunka razvila je svoje veliko tradicionalno jedro i lagano klizi modrim vodama zaliva Halong. Sa palube posmatram nestvaran pejzaž, u kome više od dve hiljade zelenih ostrvaca kao da izrasta iz mora, praveći svojim obrisima bajkovite forme istočnjačkih mitskih bića. Prema jednoj legendi, veliki zmaj iz mora je svojom vatrom okamenio sva bića na svetu i dao im te začudne oblike. Zaliv Halong je Uneskova riznica, koja je poslužila kao najlepši prirodni dekor za snimanje filma Indokina. Bilo je to vreme u kome je Margerit Diras pisala svog Ljubavnika, prema kome je, u delti Mekonga, snimljen istoimeni film. Bila je to francuska kolonijalna epoha nekadašnjeg Sajgona, a današnjeg Ho Ši Mina, glavnog grada Vijetnama. Bila su to romantična vremena koja su ubrzo, već polovinom prošlog veka, počela da prerastaju u rat koji je tu zemlju godinama dovodio u središte svetske javnosti. Slavni general Ho Ši Min je svoj narod predvodio u borbi za konačnu slobodu, izvojevanu protiv mnogo jačih protivnika, i tako ušao u istoriju. Oni jači, ali ipak poraženi, danas bezbrižno dolaze kao turisti, tražeći poprišta svojih izgubljenih borbi u nepravednom ratu u kome nisu imali milosti. Vijetnamci su im, naizgled, sve oprostili.
Dolazak u Hanoj, posebno iz mirnog Laosa, predstavlja napad na sva čula. Ulicu je, čini se, nemoguće preći od hiljada motociklista koji se kreću u svim pravcima, ali ipak tako pažljivo da nikoga ne dotaknu. Voziti se na motoru kao taksijem vrlo je praktično u toj gužvi i podjednako uzbudljivo kao i vožnja rikšom. Tako se na originalan način mogu obići znamenitosti ovog grada: stare pagode, kolonijalna zgrada opere i pozorišta na velikom trgu ili kompleks Hrama literature posvećen Konfučiju. Poseban doživljaj je i poseta tradicionalnom lutkarskom pozorištu na vodi, gde se dočaravaju mitske priče iz ovih krajeva, od ljubavnih zgoda do vatrometa.
Negde na polovini puta između severa i juga ove zemlje, koja je nekada bila tako i podeljena, nalazi se mestašce Huế. U davnim vremenima bio je to važan trgovački centar u koji su pristizale kineska i tajlandska svila, tikovina sa Bornea, začini iz Indije i gde su bogati trgovci izgradili svoje romantične vile, koje su danas pretvorene u muzeje. U jednoj od njih snimljen je poznati film Tihi Amerikanac, prema motivima Grejema Grina. U susednoj vili kupio sam stari komplet za pušenje opijuma od slonovače i ebonosa. Bio je to zanosni porok, kome su pribegavali čak i mnogi Evropljani tog vremena, povlačeći se u posebne odaje zadimljenih čajdžinica, gde bi se predavali čarima omamljujućeg dima i prividne sreće. Bila je to Francuska Indokina.
Ja se, ipak, predajem romantičnoj šetnji po Sajgonu u potrazi za mestima koja su obeležila tu epohu: gradska većnica i opera, crkva Notre Dame, stare katedrale, zgrada pošte u art deko stilu, koja više liči na muzej sa telefonskim govornicama u punom drvetu, patinirane kolonijalne vile u gradskim parkovima. Osim modernih Vijetnamki, njima ponekad prošeta, ili se proveze na biciklu, crnokosa devojka obučena u dugu i do vrata zatvonu belu tuniku, sa dubokim prorezima sa strane, kako bi se videle bele pantalone, sa velikim belim šeširom na glavi, sa koga nemarno leprša svilena tračica.
Deluje pomalo nestvarno.

Decembar 2006.
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A huge wooden junk ship has put up its big traditional sail and slowly glides on the navy waters of Halong Bay. From the deck I observe a surreal landscape in which more than two thousand small islands appear to just grow out of the sea while their contours seem to form the shapes of fantastic beings from Far Eastern mythology. According to a legend, a big dragon from the sea turned all the beings into stone with its fire and gave them these strange shapes. Halong Bay is listed as a UNESCO Heritage site and it provided the most beautiful natural backdrop for the shooting of the film Indochine. At the time Marguerite Duras was writing her novel A Lover after which a film with the same name was made in the Mekong delta. That was the French colonial era of Saigon, today’s Ho Chi Minh City, and the capital of Vietnam. Those were romantic times which quickly, already in the mid-20th century, dissipated into war time, putting this country into the centre of the world’s attention for many years. The famous general, Ho Chi Minh, led his people in the fight for eventual freedom, winning against a much stronger opponent and thus entering history. The stronger, yet defeated ones, visit nowadays as carefree tourists, looking for their missing dead on battlegrounds, those lost in an unjust war in which they showed no mercy. Seemingly, the Vietnamese have forgiven them everything.
Arrival in Hanoi, especially after the calm of Laos, means an attack on all your senses. It seems impossible to cross the street where thousands of motorcyclists move every way, yet carefully enough not to run into anyone. Using a motorbike taxi is very practical in this crowd and equally exciting as a rickshaw ride. Thus you can go around the city in an original way and see all the sites: old pagodas, the colonial Opera building and theatre on the big square, or the Temple of Literature devoted to Confucius. A unique experience is a visit to the traditional puppet theatre on water, where local mythical stories are depicted, ranging from trials and tribulations of love stories, to fireworks.
Somewhere half way between the North and the South of the country, which used to be divided like this, is a small town of Huế. In the olden times it used to be an important trade centre dealing in Chinese and Thai silk, teak from Borneo, spices from India; this is also the place where wealthy merchants built their romantic villas which were later turned into museums. In one of these villas The Quiet American, a famous movie, was shot, based on Graham Greene’s story. In the villa next door I bought an old opium smoking set made of ebony and ivory. It was a vice difficult to resist at the time, enjoyed even by many Europeans who surrendered themselves to the appeals of heady smoke and a fleeting sense of happiness in secluded smoke-filled tea rooms. That was the French Indochina.
Yet I surrender myself to a romantic walk around Saigon looking for places that have marked this era, the City Hall and the Opera, the Church of Notre Dame, the old cathedrals, the Post Office building in Art Deco style resembling a museum with phone booths made of solid wood, old colonial villas in city parks. Apart from modern Vietnamese women, you can sometimes see a girl on a bike or walking, dressed in a long white tunic buttoned up to the chin; with long slits on the sides to reveal white trousers; and on her head a huge white hat with a silk ribbon carelessly floating in the wind.
It appears a little surreal.

December 2006

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