Monday, 5 September 2011

Saigon!

Our last stop in Vietnam was Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh City).  It's the largest city in Vietnam, but fortunately a lot less crazy than Hanoi.  Our impression is that Saigon is much more western than Hanoi as well, and we saw lots of luxury stores including Gucci, Burberry, Prada, etc.  (Wait, isn't Vietnam communist??)

We stayed in an awesome family-run guest house, and the people were incredible friendly and helpful.  And we got a home-made breakfast every morning as well!  When we arrived, we were given some delicious iced tea and a snack of bananas and sesame cakes, and the owner went through a map of Saigon with us, and even suggested a walking tour.  She was amazing!

We spent our time walking around the city, and saw some interesting museums.  The first was Reunification Place, which was the presidential palace of South Vietnam.  It's preserved to be exactly as it was in 1975, when tanks crashed through the gates announcing South Vietnam's fall to the north.  The basement was full of creepy offices full of maps and other war paraphernalia.  I especially enjoyed the retro lounge on the top floor, overlooking the city.

Uncle Ho (Ho Chi Minh) statue outside city hall.  Very popular spot for photos!

Basement of Reunification Place.  Check out all the old 60s equipment!

I am super secret spy, infiltrating the basement corridors of Reunification place.

The entertainment room.  Love the round sofa and the bar in the back left corner made of an old giant barrel.  Classy!

We also ventured to the War Remnants Museum, which documented the Vietnam War in great detail.  I found it the most comprehensive museum we visited so far in Asia, but also incredibly biased.  There was an entire gallery devoted to Agent Orange, with some very *very* disturbing photos of people affected by it.  There were even real stillborn human fetuses: incredibly upsetting.  I found the photographs taken by journalists covering the war the most interesting.  There were journalists from many different nations, covering both sides of the conflict.  The stories accompanying the photos were fascinating.  Most of the journalists actually died in the conflict, and they had photographs from the last roll of film displayed, some of the photos taken just minutes before the photographer died.  It was a very powerful display!

This was from a display of photographs describing all the protests against the US military action in Vietnam.  There was even a photo of a protest in Ottawa.

Guillotine.  Outside the museum, there was a model of a prison used to house Viet Cong prisoners of war. Some prisoners were killed using this guillotine.  

Photo showing the effects of Agent Orange and other defoliants.  This used to be a mangrove forest, but was totally destroyed.

Now, a few happy photos to lighten the mood!  Our first night we found a vegetarian restaurant, and ordered the hot pot. This is what came out.  We had no idea how to eat it all!  Greg is digging into the morning glory, stir fried with garlic.  Philip, you're right, it's DELICIOUS!  We've been having it at practically every meal!

Boat attack!

2 comments:

  1. Dude, that shark picture is one of the best photos I have ever seen!! Seriously - it's hilarious!

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  2. I agree! Hilarious! Your head is perfectly placed - well done.

    ReplyDelete