Ho Chi Minh City or, as it was more romantically named, Saigon is an expanded version of Hanoi but somehow misses the soul. Bigger noisier more hectic but interesting.
A city of excess and indulgence. Which over the years has fermented resentment towards the government or powers in control.
It has a number of very interesting tourist attractions which instil a number of mixed emotions.
This is a place of absolute indulgence, excesses and target for resentments.
Originally built by the French for the Governor General it was damaged during a civil war and then rebuilt in 1962. Occupied by the President and his family it became the symbol to overthrow.
Most of the country lives in abject poverty while the government justifies spending ridiculous amounts of money on symbols.
We went on an organised tour to see the Cu Chi tunnels. The tunnels that were the end of the Ho Chi Minh Trail that provided the North Vietnamese with the protection and ability to be within a few kilometres of Saigon.
These tunnels were ingenious and thwarted all the high-technology, massive bombing, and ingenuity of the forces that were fighting against them.
Earlier in our tour we had visited the prison in Hanoi (which the Americans had named the “Hanoi Hilton” after the treatment they received).
Visiting the memorial museum in Ho Chi Min City was a real eye-opener. To see the barbaric treatment handed out by the French and their local “capitalist” supporters in the south to the captured communists.
Vicious beatings, torture and inhumane treatment was the order of the day. To discover that the last death by guillotine in Vietnam was in 1960 was unbelievable. It was also hard to believe that the French would cart these barbaric devices around the world.
The Museum also includes information about the so called Vietnam War where America attempted to stop Communism which at that time was the “ism” war. Today it’s terrorism! Another expensive and futile (except for the industries that feed off this latest phobia).
On a mission to help others expand their horizons. Who knows where they can end? Passionate about learning and embracing the changing world. Adventurous and skeptical but optimistic!