Our flight from Bangkok arrived in Ho Chi Minh City at 9:15 am, and our hotel Madame Cuc had sent a car for us. What an honor! Never in my life have I seen a sign for someone to pick us up, but once we walked out of the terminal we saw our names….to say I felt like a celebrity is an understatement. 😏
To say there are motorbikes around, is to say we breath air. The sheer volume of motorbike traffic is incredible. The ease in which the locals maneuver; astounding. The calmness and ease of everyone waiting their turns and not getting upset; enviable. While there is a fair amount of honking, the drivers here are much more cautious and considerate than those in Bangkok and other parts of Asia. Almost everyone I’ve seen has a helmet on. There are also different lanes for various speeds of traffic, the bike lanes are a max of 40 Km/hr while the main traffic roads for buses, trucks, and cars is 60 Km/hr.
I’m fascinated by the motorists and have huge respect for them as well.
Mom and I got to the city and went to lunch around 12:30 at a local place called Five Oysters and had a delicious meal; fresh shrimp rolls, beef salad, and green mango salad. Very tasty and very fresh. I’m definitely falling in love with this place, if not also the food! As with most Asian cultures, there are also some very interesting meal choices such as; jelly fish salad, something not high on my list, but it could be amazing (but I may pass). We celebrated our arrival with an iced coffee, and a lemon drink; seltzer, lime/lemon, and sugar.
After we finished lunch we took a taxi over to the War Remnants Museum. Now, as someone who doesn’t know a lot about the history of Vietnam and the US’s role during the Vietnam War, this was an incredibly enlightening and heart-aching exhibit to view. The history of this country is so expansive and I’ve only just hit the surface.
Shock and horror doesn’t even begin to describe the feelings that pulsed through me during my visit. While the museum was mostly pictures; they were so telling of the nature of war, destruction, and death. I was captured in these moments, lost in a world far away and yet not so far away. The pictures that cannot leave my mind are those that show what agent orange did to innocent children, women, men, and even the Viet Cong. The lasting effects of that weapon, it’s been generations and people are still suffering from the damage. The defects that were passed on from the men and women who fought for their country lives in their children. After we finished in the museum we went outside and saw a small exhibit about the island Côn Son Island and the torture that took place there.
This picture stayed with me and still does.
War changes everyone and no one is ever left unaffected
We must learn from our mistakes. I took away a lot from this museum and it’s changed how I see myself and how I see myself as an American. I think we have a duty, as humans, to dig deep and retain our humanity because what will be remembered in the future won’t be our names, but our legacy to the world.