A few days in Saigon

In case you’re wondering why this entry refers to Saigon, it’s because that’s what the Southerners refer to it as. The name Ho Chi Minh comes from the North and although reunification occurred long ago, there are still subtle issues between Northerners and Southerners. FYI, the Vietnam War as we call it is referred to as the Civil War by the Southerners and The American War by the northerners.

Took me a while to get my head around that one. I’ve had a great few days since my last entry. I did a tour of the Cu Chi tunnels that the VC’s used during a number of conflicts including the Vietnam War. Being a little squirt, I was able to slither through the tunnels like a slim hipped Vietnamese boy, but some of the American beasts who were on the trip had to really go for it to get past some of the scary points. It was cool – really interesting.

Next up we went to the shooting range. I hadn’t really been keen on the idea before but once we got there it looked really awesome and like a lot of fun. I wanted to get involved.

We each fired off a couple of rounds of an AK47 at the targets in the firing range. Very cool although I’m not sure my hearing will ever be the same. Some guys went totally Rambo and chose the M60 machine gun.

The War Remnants museum was as heart wrenching as the one in Cambodia – particularly when you see what Agent Orange has done to the survivors and their children. We were told that it was originally called the War Crimes Museum after the war, but was changed due to the sensitivities of the tourists. It is always interesting to see the view of a war from the other sides perspective and I am sure it is quite confronting for many Americans as it shows the misery inflicted on the general population, there were also many shots of “war crime” type atrocities such as torture and throwing people out of helicopter, etc.  These museums just show that there isn’t anyone that engages in war who comes out a winner, certainly least of all the non combatants.

There were quite a few guys outside who’d obviously been deeply affected by the war. It was interesting to see all these tourists come to this museum and obviously agree that it was a terrible thing that happened and that something must be done, but then totally avoid the guys outside who were missing limbs. If you watched from the window you could see them making a wide loop around them.

It’s been a pretty full on few days but I’m loving Vietnam so far and I’m really glad we chose this as our first stop on the trip.

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