A Slum or a Landmark?

The Cai River runs through Nha Trang and for as long as I have been coming here, there has been an area where the poor had built wooden houses along it’s banks. Not really a slum, but more of a Shanty town I guess. I have walked through many times and always marveled at how adaptive the people here were. I would see internet café’s supported by a couple of poles sticking up from the river waters and many other businesses that a person would never expect to see in such locations. Some of the walks have ended me up in conversations (limited by my language skills) about life in the neighborhood. It was surprising to me that these little rickety stick houses had been passed on for generations. They had survived Typhoons, floods, and other disasters that other areas did not. The Mangrove wood that served as the foundations for these places never rots and from what I was told, could support these houses in the wet conditions for a hundred years. Perhaps it is true…. I do not know.

Long has this area been an eyesore along the river of Nha Trang, but now it is being destroyed t make way for a new road and businesses… no doubt more seafood restaurants and coffee shops. I am sad in a way. I feel sorry for the people being displaced, and had not realized how much the sight of the polluted, garbage strewn area had become part of the personality of the city. I am sure most others saw it differently.

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Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

2 thoughts on “A Slum or a Landmark?

  1. As long as there are affordable places for these families to go (are there?) it won’t be such a terrible thing to have the water pollution alleviated, I suspect.

  2. Ahhhh progress. I remember seeing what we called coke can houses back in the 70’s. Shanties made from whatever people could find and always afew soda cans opened and pounded flat to fill small holes. Corragated tin and sticks mostly. Don’t see them much anymore…sometimes out in the provinces….going to BMT.

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