From Ho Chi Minh’s fictional Diary:

4 July 1912
Brooklyn, New York

We docked in Hoboken two days ago, and today is the American Independence Day, when the Americans declared their independence from British rule. I said to some friends, if the Americans could get rid of the British, why can’t we get rid of the French, who are not as powerful as the British? Nghe thought it was because most of those Americans had come from Britain, so they knew how to fight European-style with European weapons. But Tran Luong said it was because the British couldn’t profit from America - there was no native labor so they didn’t much care about losing it. Then Hoa, who never says much but is very astute, said the answer was simply determination. You decide to do something and persist as did our ancestors for nearly a thousand years against the Chinese invaders.

In telling this writer, on one occasion, of his admiration for and attachment to the United States and how much the U.S. war for independence had inspired his own ambitions, Ho recalled his own visit to New York City. When sailing into New York harbor he had stared at the Statue of Liberty with mixed feelings. He could hardly regard this magnificent gift from the French as an unqualified symbol of liberty. But for Ho, New York City, with its extraordinary vitality and diversity of people, came to represent the promise of equality for people of all races and nationalities. This was to be a long-lasting inspiration.

Ho’s reason for visiting London is uncertain. Being always an enthusiastic traveler and linguist, he may have been eager to know this fabulous city and to improve his English. He may also have wanted contact with useful left-wing groups. He did indeed contact the Irish rebels in Liverpool as well as make the pilgrimage, so beloved by leftists, to Marx’s grave in Highgate.

While in London, Ho worked as a pastry chef at the elite Carlton Hotel. This experience would likely have offered him the opportunity to experience firsthand how the wealthy classes from throughout the world lived and played.
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