I recently took a stop over in Ho Chi Minh (or Saigon as I like to call her) on route to Thailand, we got a bargain airfare on Vietnam Airways to Bangkok out via Saigon and back via Hanoi.
Being The Travel Animal I am I couldn’t help but make a stopover, I would have loved to do the junk around Halong Bay but the weather at that time of year was too cold so we decided on 3 nights in Saigon on the way out.
The attractions in Saigon centre very much on “The Vietnam War” or “The American War” as its referred to in Vietnam,our hotel was on the same block as the War Remnants Museum so we decided on our first day to pay it a visit.
I don’t profess to be an expert on the Vietnam war, I know the basics and have seen a few films however I cant say that the portrayal of the story read well for me at the museum.
Of course in war there is suffering on both sides, yet the museum seems to play the story heavily from the Viet Cong’s point of view, I understand some of the methods deployed by the American army were totally inhumane, but i do also know that some of the tactics deployed by the Viet Cong were equally horrific, yet the museum seems to play this down or even glorify that side of the story.
You can’t help tiring of it all, after a while of walking around the exhibition reading stories of horror played out by the Americans and less and less so of the other side – And lets remember America lost this war, it becomes a bit tedious and actually you find yourself questioning the whole experience and what it is set up to achieve.
After spending the day at the museum I found myself looking at older people in their 60′s or 70′s and thinking – they saw all of that with their own eyes – they have stories they could tell, but in the same vein there are American soldiers that also have stories to tell that would be just as heart wrenching and just as poignant.
My view on war as a whole is irrelevant, we all have our opinions on whether or not “super powers” should step in to help the underdogs in worldwide political, religious or territorial situations, but as a traveler my view on war is that it is pointless, to reduce a country, its culture, its history, and its inhabitants to a pile of burning rubble with long lasting after effects is just one big waste of time energy and money.
If only we could all learn to live alongside each other and spare the suffering and destruction, the planet could be a better place. Our current world is not the planet I would be proud to represent at the Armageddon.
Later that evening we met a couple in our hotel bar and the topic of the war and the museum came up, they had been to the Cu Chi tunnels that day and described the excursion a little like a cattle run and also quite anti American.
So with a strong taste of propaganda still lingering in our mouths and the prospect of being herded from coach to tunnel we decided maybe the Ben Thanh market was our best option for a day out the following day.
Being a new travel blogger I did not really want to write about something so controversial or negative, but it is an experience I have had on my travels, and on my blogging research I cam across this post:
Amanda gives a truly appreciative account of her experience from an American’s point of view.