Come for the school girls, stay for the war
March 25, 2013 2:12 AM   Subscribe

Visit fascinating Vietnam. In 1961, a 16-page brochure was trying to lure American tourists to visit one the most stalwart members of the family of Free Nations, starting with the cleanest, most fascinating city in the Orient, Saigon. But what does Vietnam have to offer to US tourists? Girls of course! In Saigon, the doe-eyed shapely Vietnamese girls dressed in the most gracious way! In Dalat, the pretty Vietnamese hostesses with gowns split to the waist. In Hue, don't miss the Dong-Khanh school girl, whose hair hangs long and shining in a tail at least to her waist (the boatgirls of the Perfume River, on the other hand, are just often pretty). And when you've done sightseeing, you can kill wild and harmful beasts such as tigers, leopards, for a mere $22, and there is no tax for killing them!
posted by elgilito (17 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Great link, but the misleading framing is a problem; please try again tomorrow? -- taz

To be fair, there are also elderly scholars writing on scrolls for your amusement, so it's not all salaciousness and murder (unless you incline to elderly scholars, I suppose).

All snippiness aside, that was a fascinating pamphlet. I rarely find myself reading historical travel literature with such a sinking feeling. Outrage, yes, but this is glum dread.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:43 AM on March 25, 2013

And a promo video for the Convair 880 touted in one of the ads.
posted by mrbill at 2:46 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Interesting. I'm currently reading Honor Bound: American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1961-1973, and there's quote from James Stockdale in there, saying that he felt that, tortured and mistreated as he was, he was "paying off a lot of French debts"—he was a white guy on the receiving rather than inflicting end of imperialism, in other words. Well, French debts plus a lot of American ones (napalm; agent orange; killing a million Vietnamese), but I suppose you have to see those as justified if you're Stockdale.
posted by Sonny Jim at 3:01 AM on March 25, 2013

Hey, this pamphlet only serves to prove why we HAD to in there and SAVE those people from Communism AND restore our right to go ogle exotic girls!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:11 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

An exit visa is not required, but you may find it useful to have an exit strategy.
posted by pracowity at 3:18 AM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

Yea, they used to be beautiful and exotic, and submissive, too. It's true. But we taught them a lesson, we did! By the time we left, they were ready to kill anyone that gave them any shit! Toughened them up, by god.
posted by Goofyy at 3:21 AM on March 25, 2013

There's an ad for a Convair 880 - quite rare for passenger aeroplane nerds like me
posted by the noob at 3:37 AM on March 25, 2013

Huh, Hue. I would have appreciated seeing it in 1960, you know, before we destroyed it.
posted by percor at 3:47 AM on March 25, 2013

From the headline, I thought this was going to be about Sylvester Stallone.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:59 AM on March 25, 2013

Well, at least Thailand was saved...!
posted by markkraft at 4:08 AM on March 25, 2013

Go visit, it's still a beautiful place. Only the rooms at the Continental are more like $120 now and the traffic is ungodly.
posted by jsavimbi at 4:41 AM on March 25, 2013

Dig that proto-website address for Air france on page 2 - - too bad the .tai domain didn't survive the war.
posted by fairmettle at 4:52 AM on March 25, 2013

I read the pamphlet and it seems pretty standard for its time. It mentions pretty girls a few times among the regular touristy copy and school girls only once in a non-sexualized way. I don't see how anyone can read that and come away with the idea that it's all about ogling young girls, which is entirely how the post is framed.
posted by rocket88 at 5:11 AM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

Yeah, the post is framed in a ridiculously misleading way, and I almost didn't bother clicking through, but I'm glad I did, because it's a fascinating look at an interesting time and place. I used to kvetch at my father for not having taken me along when he visited Saigon in 1960 as Far East Area Officer (we were living in Bangkok); how I'd love to have memories of sipping Cokes on the balcony of the Hotel Continental!
posted by languagehat at 5:41 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Something about the Pan Am logo makes me very wistful. This is neat stuff - thanks for posting it.
posted by jquinby at 5:42 AM on March 25, 2013

"Family of Free Nations"? Oh, Cold War, you are just the living end!
posted by psoas at 5:48 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

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