Saturday, May 1, 2010

Monument to Messaging

The 19th-century Beaux-Arts Post Office building in Cong Xa Paris (Paris Commune Square) stands proud, if dwarfed, by the cathedral in downtown Saigon. The exterior is confectionary pink and adorned with stucco relief; it is flanked by two socialist-realism statues, monuments to communications workers.
The interior is a marvel: at the far end a giant portrait of Ho Chi Minh watches over the clitter clatter of daily messaging while at the entrance, two huge painted antique maps face each other: one reveals the communication lines in the south of the Vietnam in the 1880s, the other displays the map of the small city of Saigon in 1892. In one corner, near the entrance, a blue ceramic bowl laden with glue and brush is available to postcard senders... an attractive reminder of the pleasure of sending a note.

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