03.08.2014 - 04.08.2014
Sometimes I arrive in a place and I just like it, even against preconceived expectations. I liked Saigon, 10 million people and all, with 5 million motorcycles. Vietnamese are persistent. One rickshaw rider tracked me for 5 blocks trying to persuade me of the merits of getting a ride with him, even though I only had a few minutes walk. Actually I did feel a bit guilty. He needed the dollar more than I did. Another guy followed me down the street insisting that my shoe needed to be glued up “very cheap”. I relented when he got down to a dollar.
The highlight for me was going to the Chu Chi tunnels, the system of underground tunnels and living quarters that the Viet Cong lived in for 17 years during the 50’s and 60’s. The more I learn about their determination and resourcefulness to gain independence for their country from the French and the US, the more I admire them. Not forgetting that they then took down Pol Pot in Cambodia.
Going to the War Museum was heart-wrenching, with respect to seeing the photographic exhibit on the ongoing generational effects of Agent Orange. Also, having seen Pol Pot’s torture chambers, it was sobering to see the torture systems of the South Vietnamese regime (supported by the US) being as or arguably more brutal.