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Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)


Ho Chi Minh is Vietnams largest city, and although in places it is quite dirty it's arguably the most modern city we visited in Vietnam. One of the most important things we wanted to achieve in our time here was to sort out our Thai visa. To enter Thailand from a land boarder only gives you a 15 day visa, and to enter by air you gain a 30 day Visa. However we wanted longer than this so decide to apply for a 60 day visa at the Thai embassy before entering. The first day was taken up getting pictures taken, buying bus tickets and changing money into U.S Dollars, which are pretty much a second currency here in South East Asia. 

The following day we decided to visit the Vietnam War Museum, in the courtyard outside the shoebox shaped building were several American military aircraft and a few tanks that were obviously captured intact. 



The Museum is a three story building, the ground level and almost lobby area concentrates on explaining the reaction of the war around the world. There were pictures from most of the big cities all over the world of people demonstrating against American force in Vietnam. There were also examples of political propaganda from communist political parties around the world, who were against the war and in support of the communist North Vietnam.

The first floor was slightly more grim, showing the devastation of the war on the Vietnamese countryside and it's people. Explanations of the different battles or cases of war crimes committed by the Americans. In particular the use of chemical weapons that had never been tested, in particular Napalm and Chemical Defoliants (Dioxin). The people who survived Napalm attacks were left with horrendous burns and disfigurements. The Chemical defoliants were used to destroy huge areas of the forests in order to expose the enemy. However, this chemical once exposed to it, either directly or by contaminated drinking water caused a generation of children to be born after the war with terrible birth defects, this was even the case for some American and Australian soldiers who were exposed. There were examples of some of the children who had been effected by the Dioxin which was quite depressing.    

Something i found interesting about the museum was the different viewpoint that it offered of the war. As a westerner my understanding of the Vietnam war was guided by the films that depict it, however these being American Hollywood war films tend to convey an obvious pro America slant. However, the museum, while being bias understandably to the Vietnamese,  helped me understand the war without Hollywood tinted glasses. There was an interesting exhibition of war photography too, it was quite a sombre collection of work as all the photographers died during the conflict. 

Photography is not forbidden in the museum, however it seemed in bad taste to be taking pictures of the subject matter, so Ho Chi Minh wasn't much of a place for photos.

While walking back to our hotel we stopes by the central market and had a little look round. Opposite is a square where people meet to play badminton or ball games, as well as a game I have only seen in South East Asia which is played with a handmade weighted shuttlecock which you kick with your feet, the intention is to keep it off the ground between the group of you playing. While the girls talked to the Vietnamese girls, me and Smith got involved with the game which was fun.

(an example of the busy roads and the powerlines, all of them looked like this tangled chaos!)


The following day we decided to go to the Water Park which was a laugh, I always regress into a small child when I go to water parks and this was no exception. That evening we parted company with the Germans, we were all sorry to say goodbye, but we would meet again in Cambodia!

The following day we would be leaving our first stop in South East Asia, next stop Cambodia!!!

Posted by Christian25 07:42 Archived in Vietnam

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