Mostly Missed Saigon

On the 16th of February, i made the long but ultimately very easy bus journey from Cambodia to Vietnam. I arrived in the evening, which is probably a good thing as if i had arrived in the morning i don’t think i could have resisted the urge to shout that phrase.  At this point I was starting to get a little nervous about my dates because I had arranged to meet friends in Shanghai in just under a month which gives me around 2 weeks reach to do Vietnam and South China. Vietnam is big and China is sodding huge. This is not enough time! Yay friends for coming to see me, but boooooo, couldn’t you have scheduled your lives entirely around my convenience? Mind you, I still have my Russian visa dates to think of so I guess life runs on a time limit regardless.

(That sounded a lot more deep and morbid than I intended)

As I was running low on time I immediately booked a train ticket out of Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh city), giving me only half a day in the city. I want expecting this to be a problem as I fully expected it to be another busy, noisy, dirty city that i wouldn’t like at all, but it really wasn’t. Well, OK, it was busy. I thought I had gotten used to Asian traffic and then suddenly…

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… Vietnam happened, but despite the crazy motorbikes it’s not that noisy on the streets and it’s pretty clean for a city.  I actually felt happy wandering round and soon wished I had given myself more time.

So the happy feeling doesn’t exactly fit in with the one tourist sight I managed to fit in, but never mind. The art museum I had planned to go to was closed for lunch by the time I got there but the War Remnants museum down the road was open and I’d heard it was a good museum.  To be fair it is a good museum, but the subject matter goes beyond depressing and into horrifying.  This death tourism seems to be turning into an accidental habit, what with Dachau and Tuol Sleng, but having a ‘special relationship’ with the bad guys makes it so much more uncomfortable.  I almost had to leave the exhibit about Agent Orange because it was so disturbing.

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Tiger caves (not for tigers)

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Useful if you remember who the enemy is

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Memorial of names of innocent civilians killed in one of many village massacres. That’s not a painting.

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Hope for the end of the war.

Next time I visit Ho Chi Minh city (I hope there’ll be a next time), I will try and find something that reflects the more positive aspects of the city, but for now I’ll attempt to lighten the mood with this ice cream shop.

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(And this is why I will never be a serious news reporter)

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