A Day in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog› entry 48 of 62 › view all entries
I went to the Bobby Brew Coffee shop for a cup of good coffee and an (overpriced) American breakfast of eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, and toast. The street clamored with a funeral procession. At two nearby computer repair shops, I explained the symptoms of my crippled laptop but neither were capable of assistance. Their displays of accessories appeared to lag a decade behind the western world's computer age. For the time being my laptop was doomed.
I decided to spend the rest of the day exploring. The American Market is an easy walk from the hotel-guesthouse area of District 1. The complex of indoor market stalls sell clothing, hardware, motorbike parts, and a few relics from the war years: helmets - both American and North Vietnamese; canteens and mess trays; a variety of aircraft instruments; combat boots, and military clothing - most of which were poorly made copies.
Another easy walk from District 1 (twenty minutes) is the War Museum. The massive two-story building is typical of the decades-passed French Colonial era with its tall columns, shuttered windows, double-doors, and high ceilings. Glass cases displayed only a few American items such as cassette players, transistor radios, a typewriter, and Zippo lighters - one engraved 'When I die I'll go to Heaven because I've already spent my time in hell'. Most displays were of the simple weapons and equipment used by the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong. The wall of one great hall was dominated by a painting of the Communist take-over of the U.S. Embassy in April 1975.
As I browsed the museum's long corridors and spacious halls, my interest turned to a photo shoot taking place promoting the modern-day Vietnamese wedding. Models posed as bride and groom using the museum and its sprawling grounds as a backdrop. Seems an odd but fine example how Vietnam has swept its grim years of war behind and moved on.