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[Photos] Downtown Saigon in 1972: Same Same, but Different

What if all the core images, sounds and smells you know of a place were intact, but altered, tweaked or reworked the way songs can be? In some ways, this is what it feels like to gaze at photographs of a place you know intimately, but taken during a time when you never existed.

Many of the buildings, roads, landmarks, rivers and activities are the same, but everything is slightly different. Colors have shifted, architecture re-arranged, elements added or removed, and styles shaken up. Perhaps you would prefer this alternate version and wish it was the place you now occupied, or maybe it would engender a newfound appreciation for what you've come to consider the "original version."

This set of photographs taken in Saigon in 1972 includes many sights that we recognize today, including the Saigon Zoo, the Opera House, and Trần Hưng Đạo Street. But the visitors to them dress differently, current statues are nowhere to be seen, and bygone makes of cars fill the streets. The author of the photo collection, presumably an American serviceman, is only known by the Flickr user name Kemper14.

Have a look at the "remix" below: 

Prayers offered inside the Thien Hau Pagoda.

The Hung Kings Temple inside the Saigon Zoo.

A pagoda with bridge inside the Saigon Zoo that no longer stands today.

You can still feed sugarcane to the elephants in the zoo today, but not from this close, and thankfully the animals are no longer chained up.

The shaded paths of the Saigon Zoo.

Công Lý Bridge stretching over the Thị Nghè Canal.

Vendors outside Bạch Đằng Wharf.

Not a single water taxi in sight.

Many of the same snack brands and sundries offered over 50 years ago on Saigon's streets.

Ngô Đức Kế Street. 

A small sidewalk market on Huỳnh Thúc Kháng Street. 

The Palace Hotel.

City Hall in the distance. 

Perhaps the city's modern taxi systems should bring these models back.

A look down Ham Nghi with remarkably less traffic.

Trần Hưng Đạo Street with nary a skyscraper in sight.

[Photos via Flickr user manhhai]