Today was a quiet day. We visited an upscale five story mall with many of the same stores we are familiar with at home. A quick glance at various prices seemed to confirm that they were very similar to the US. Although it was a weekday morning the mall was strangely empty. In this city of 9 million people it appears that the vast majority are just struggling to get by while there is a very rich elite class that has significant disposable income. In contrast, we wondered around the chaotic “old town” where the streets were filled with people and sales at the shops and stalls were brisk.
Yesterday was election day in Vietnam and since there is only one party, the communists won. The people elect their representatives to the National Assembly who in turn elect the President. The President then appoints the Prime Minister and various cabinet members. Their system of a legislative, judicial and executive branch is similar to the US with the huge difference being a single political party. According to our guide there has been discussion of creating multi-party system but that has obviously been opposed by the communist party. However, they practice what they call a mixed economy where private business and entrepreneurs are encouraged and seem to be flourishing.
We are now at the new Noi Bai International Airport waiting for our flight to depart to Tokyo, then on to Norfolk via Dallas. We have had a wonderful trip but look forward to arriving back home.