Thursday, October 23, 2014

Vietnam part2: Saigon (Ho Chi Minh's city)

After I was forced to cut down on my plans radically, my whole Vietnam journey shrank to only two parts - Hanoi and Saigon (I know, that sucks!). Anyway, I flew from Hanoi to Saigon on Monday night and planned my activities there for whole 1 and a half day ;)

Saigon (the correct current official name is Ho Chi Minh's city, but I will keep calling it Saigon (imagine writing Ho Chi Minh's city all the time..) did not impress me at all as city. Unlike Hanoi it doesn't have any charming old part - only ugly, hot streets like the one on picture with crazy traffic.

...with crazy traffic! and super annoying tuk-tuk and motorbike drivers (and I thought nothing can top Bangkok)

Skyline of Saigon's modern part

Saigon's central post-office with omnipresent "uncle Ho"

I had 2 main goals in Saigon: visit war remnants museum and the Cu Chi tunnels. I managed to do both and both of them were very interesting and impressive experiences.

Apart from few US fighter jets and tanks from the Vietnam war that I wasn't too excited about, the exhibitions inside of the museum were shocking! There were hundreds of horrific pictures and stories about the acts of american cruelty during war in Vietnam. I know that it is not easy to look at pictures like these, but I find it quite important to share how inhuman did (can??) people act towards other human beings...

This was the most depressing part of the museum for me... It showed vietnamese people of all ages with all kind of disabilities and deformations caused by the use of chemical weapons (mainly Agent Orange) by US army.. There are people still being born without arms or legs, or not able to talk or think, even after 40 years after the war... I was trying to think of any possible fucked up reason, why would somebody spray chemicals on innocent people all over the country, but I'm sorry - I just couldn't find any... This is double that sick and fucked up if you realize that USA didn't have nothing to do with the problems going on in Vietnam - and therefore no right to intervene there anyhow - not talking about intervening this way... (I'm getting the shakes even now as I'm writing this, so you can imagine what it felt like going through the hundreds of pictures and stories in the museum)

There was used a nice contrasting linkage of the Vietnam war facts, figures and pictures to the part of the US Declaration of Independence.. No comments needed, as written above - it is self-evident...

My second goal in Saigon was to visit the nearby Cu Chi tunnels. Cu Chi is a part of Vietnam, which was heavily bombarded (like any other part) by US during the Vietnam war.. The difference between Cu Chi and any other parts was, that the people of Cu Chi found a way how to resist and fight the american army (even heavily outnumbered and under-armed). They dug up huge network (250 km in 3 levels) of underground tunnels where the Viet Cong guerillas were hiding and preparing all kinds of tricky traps for the US soldiers.. Smart motherfuckers ;) I tried to walk in there for 40 meters and I must say that they were really not done for my size of body :))

Demonstration of how to make a vietcong soldier disappear..

And he's gone... somewhere in the tunnels..

Few of the very tricky vietcong traps... One example for all: the fish trap (the little cage placed outside). It didn't necessarily needed to kill the enemy (not even hurt him if he was lucky enough to step next to the spike and not on it), but they placed a land-mine under that cage which meant that if his fellows came to help him out of the hole, it blew up all of them...

So much for my short, a bit depressing and sad, but very educational Saigon stay... Currently I'm already in Phnom Penh - the capital of Cambodia - and I have to get you ready for more depressing and fucked up stories... More on that in the next post. Peace 

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