Vietnam - population about 3.5 million - is the capital of the Socialist
Republic of Vietnam (SRV)
occupied all of Vietnam by 1884. Independence was declared after World
War II, but the French continued to rule until 1954 when they were defeated
by communist forces under Ho Chi MINH, who took control of the north. US
economic and military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an
attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following
a cease-fire agreement in 1973. Two years later North Vietnamese forces
overran the south. Economic reconstruction of the reunited country has
proved difficult as aging Communist Party leaders have only grudgingly
initiated reforms necessary for a free market.
|Economy - overview:
Vietnam is a poor, densely populated country that has had to recover from
the ravages of war, the loss of financial support from the old Soviet Bloc,
and the rigidities of a centrally planned economy. Substantial progress
was achieved from 1986 to 1996 in moving forward from an extremely low
starting point - growth averaged around 9% per year from 1993 to 1997.
The 1997 Asian financial crisis highlighted the problems existing in the
Vietnamese economy but, rather than prompting reform, reaffirmed the government's
belief that shifting to a market oriented economy leads to disaster. GDP
growth of 8.5% in 1997 fell to 6% in 1998 and 5% in 1999. Growth continued
at the moderately strong level of 5.5%, a level that should be matched
in 2001. These numbers mask some major difficulties in economic performance.
Many domestic industries, including coal, cement, steel, and paper, have
reported large stockpiles of inventory and tough competition from more
efficient foreign producers; this problem apparently eased in 2000. Foreign
direct investment fell dramatically, from $8.3 billion in 1996 to about
$1.6 billion in 1999. Meanwhile, Vietnamese authorities have moved slowly
in implementing the structural reforms needed to revitalize the economy
and produce more competitive, export-driven industries.
Interesting places and good stuff to
know in no particular order or priority
Mission of Hope (IMH) 31
Le Duan Street TEL: 9.422822
Hotel 60 Hang Dao Street TEL: 8.269314
Grand Hanoi Hotel 49 Hai Ba Trung Street TEL: 9.342342 (link)
place near the Somerset: Bangkok Hanoi Restaurant 52A
Ly Thoung Keit. TEL: 9.345598
TO THE Cau Giay ORPHANAGE:(pronounced "cow ziay?"
- up accent on the end):
The orphanage is on the way
from Noibai Airport to the Somerset or Claudia hotel. Just off of
Nam Thang Long Road (the road from the airport), go across Xuan Thuy (big
intersection with a roundabout) and take the first right (towards Hospital
19-8). The orphanage is on the right.
VERY IMPORTANT thing you need to know about your Asian baby
Hotel Info Link
joint near St. Joseph's Cathedral:
Nha Tho St. TEL: 8.266288
Cream (more like Gellato) near Hoan Kiem Lake: Fanny
48 Le Thai To TEL: 8.285656
Not bad place for inexpensive
prints: Gallery Long (the one on the left side of
the building - the one on the right is the competition) 14 Nha Chung
St. This shop is near the Italian place mentioned above. TEL:
newKids, 48 Ba Trieu St. TEL: 9.348288
Large selection of clothes, some toys, strollers, etc.
Baby Shop 57 Tho nhuom St.
TEL: 9,348462 Good selection of clothes, toys and inexpensive strollers,
in the area near St. Joseph's Cathedral. A bit more up scale and
different from the rest.
Airlines office is in the Melina Hotel - very near
the Somerset. This is a good thing to know if you are flying on Thai
and want to confirm your reservations (highly recommended). They do not
answer their phone so it is easiest to just go in person.
Stuff: Travelers Checks, Currency Exchange, ATM (Master Card, Visa,
ANZ Bank, 14 Le Thi To Street (near Hoan Kiem
Lake) TEL: 8.258188/9
Emotion CyberNet Cafe,
across the street from the shopping mall attached to the Somerset.
Cheap (but real slow) Internet access.
Speaking of the net - I usually
get a free email account when I travel internationally since it is nearly
impossible to connect to my ISP. In Vietnam in particular, telephone
service is not very reliable and is noisy so even if your ISP offers a
point of presence (POP) here, chances are it will not be very reliable
or fast. There are many Internet Cafe's in Hanoi - some even have
air conditioning and bandwidth. Free
email is a pretty good price but you get what you pay for.
I usually use mail.yahoo.com, but they are all pretty much the same.