Saturday, June 24, 2006

Ho Chi Minh City - photos

What an interesting day.

A few things to note before I forget: I've seen more older people with severed limbs here than in any city; I was told by a young Vietnamese boy "Honey, I love you"; older women really DO wear pointy straw hats here; pollution from all the mopeds is terrible; the Viet currency has the funniest name in the world - it is called the Dong; I am the only blond in the entire country right now; I look so foreign, locals just hound me to sell anything to the point that I am tired of going out and fighting it anymore.

I walked to Reunification Palace which is the seat of government and is also a museum in some ways kept exactly unchanged since the Vietnam War. Strangely, the areas still used by the President are also unchanged since the war - meaning very bad condition and very bad taste. Look at the photos - one room actually has a stuffed leopard and a chandelier in it amongst 70s carpet.

Most interesting was going to the roof and seeing a helicopeter there from the war; also interesting was the bunker in the basement, kept as a museum used just as during the war. The ending was very interesting - a museum of pictures and mementos about Vietnam's occupation by the French, the American war and subsequent victory by the Communists. What was most interesting was not that it wasn't factual, and in some ways very fair, but also very slanted anti-American; there was not a single positive comment about the American war. I'm fascinated and will likely want to read more about it politically (rather then the 1.5 million movies on the battles).

Then went shopping, including buying a linen print of communist propoganda. This was truly a fascinating store, much of it so anti-American that it actually made me feel bad; curiously, some other Americans were in there as well looking to buy a print, but they said exactly as I felt: "Well, we're not going to buy any war posters." There were many that showed USAF planes burning and crashing from the sky, some posters showing South Vietnamese soldiers tied up on a post and being shot. Fascinating. I ended up getting something not quite so harsh but still rather Bolshevik. Very cool.

I have so much crap to take home! I look forward to sleeping tonight and just relaxing in Tokyo tomorrow; I think I will just stay at the hotel, relax and other than go for a walk just work in my room. A lot of catching up to do!


xianfu said...
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