Day 011 – Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)

2008/09/14 § Leave a comment

Saigon surely is not the prettiest of all cities at first sight. Maybe not even at the second look. However, it is a buzzing and vibrant place. If you can ignore the fumes and the dust in the streets that you are forced to inhale (unless you use a mask as many Vietnamese) you can even enjoy running around down-town. When it comes to driving a concept called “hope” reigns in the streets where millions of motorbikes are whizzing around.

I have been driving around with Björn´s bike today and have actually enjoyed it. Even though we saw a huge truck standing right on top of a bike the other day, which was a scary sight, it seems not as dangerous as my first impression was. However, it is still insane, no doubt about it. People just cross streets, bikes are zick-zacking their way between cars and trucks and some bike carry no less than four individuals. Add the Vietnamese` despise for rules like red lights and their urge to ignore all other participants of the traffic and you are half way there… (see video)

I have visited the War museum today and was appalled. Sure one has heard much about the atrocities committed by the US military (and the participating Australian, New Zealand and other forces), but to see it here where it happened lets your blood freeze. The combination of pictures and texts as well as the weapons and machinery gives an all too vivid picture of the inhumane behaviour of American troops. Looking at the guns that killed 3 million individuals lets you imagine the desperate screams and the noise of endless rounds of ammunition being fired.
An especially gruesome picture carried the title: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. “, Declaration of Independence.
The bitter irony, even sarcasm can not be overstated.

Considering various events following Vietnam (take Panama or Iraq to just mention two outrageous events quite randomly) it does not appear as though the US politicians or the majority of US American people have drawn any useful lesson from the so called Vietnam war. However, Vietnam certainly must have been the one of the clearest declarations of what the bullying megalomaniac and imperialistic US politics really is all about.

On a more positive note I am enjoying my time with Björn and Tuong. We have been out eating the other day and lucky for me Tuong was soft on us and did not choose any too insane food (no snake this time). 🙂 But the feed here is great and soo cheap! Bad for my plans to loose some punds when you get a lovely dish for just a bit more than a Euro… 😉


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