Friday, 21 November 2008

The American War

Well, Saigon has come and gone for us in a bit of a flash.

After a brief stop off in Nha Trang (Wednesday), Vietnam's most popular (if a little dirty) beach resort where we basically laid on sun loungers, listened to waves rolling in and drank fruit shakes (Ann - Dragon, Jeff - Mango), we made it to the country's biggest city, Saigon, for one day only.

Officially the area is called Ho Chi Minh City, renamed after the North Vietnamese forces 'unified' the country using tanks and guns under the command of Ho Chi Minh himself.

Despite Ho Chi Minh being something of a hero the residents still call the city Saigon and therefore so too do I.

The city itself is often compared to Hanoi and we had to agree that it's bigger and brasher; the scooters are driven more crazily, the youngsters pose with even more style and the food and drink on offer is much, much more. Even if we did have a Western night and eat pizzas ourselves.

The highlight of the visit was the War Remnants Museum. So often back in Europe we are told about 'The Vietnam War' so it's actually a nice twist to come to Vietnam and be told of 'The American War'.

The museum includes some incredible photos from journalists who died while following the historic situation unfold (including Pulitzer prize winning photo as shown here. Note that there was another with the family, all alive, some years later so they lived to tell the tale thankfully).

Also in the museum were stories of some American atrocities and the use of some horrific weapons and their effects not only directly on people but also those born after the war was finished.

Glaringly absent from the whole story was why the Americans were there or what may have caused the war in the first place but purely as an exhibition, as a record of what happened so recently in a land that now seems so peaceful, the experience was fascinating and truly humbling.

It says a lot that we were there for a few hours and it only felt like 5 minutes so engrossed in the story that was unfolding before us.

Today we recharge our batteries in a small town a few hours on from Saigon. We are in Chau Doc, in the Mekong Delta. We have seen floating markets and also seen some coconut candy being made. Tomorrow we board a morning boat that will take us further up the Mekong River and into Cambodia.

Another stamp in Ann and Jeff's passports awaits!

2 comments:

KreativaHus Arkitekter said...

Interesting point of view with the american war instead of the vietnam war.. I suppose the Iraki people are also talking about the american war as well as the poeple of afganistan.. Hopefully there will not be to many more american wars..

Johannes Igelström said...

Håller på och mixtrar med en blogg för mitt jobb, Kreativa Hus, så därför blev avsändaren jobbadressen istället för min egen sist.. Har inte full kontroll på det här ännu tydligen..
Kram Johannes