Clubbing with the Over 50's??
Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog› entry 65 of 121 › view all entries
We were so tired on arrival at Sai Gon. Neither of us had slept literally at all on the bus, but at least we found the main backpacker zone quickly, and easily found a suitable place to stay.
The Lonely Planet offered some advice on how to spend a day in HCMC, and with lack of a better idea, we followed it and started on our way to the War Remnants Museum.
That was actually quite a good museum, set out over six zones. It begins with the Declaration of Independence written and signed by Ho Chi Minh on September 2nd 1945. Unsurprisingly, the US were in support of France maintaining the colony as it would mean the price of valuable resources such as tin and tungsten would stay relatively cheap from Indochina (Ed. You see, you get an education, be it Vietnamese biased in this case, in my blogs). The colonisation officially ceased on the 20th July 1954 after an agreement was signed, ending the hostilities in Indochina. Following this, the last French forces left the country on 16th May 1955, after a mere 100 years of colonisation.
Ho Chi Minh wanted to reunite the North and South, but American sponsorship for president Ngo Dinh Diem of the Republic of Vietnam meant the elections never actually materialised and the inevitable tension grew. The National Front and the Liberation of South Vietnam formed to overthrow Ngo Dinh Diem and the US intervention. Ngo Dinh Diem was subsequently assassinated in 1963, but the US intervention continued to halt the spread of communism and the re-unification of the North and South.
On 8th March 1965 troops began
to arrive at Da Nang, and carpet bombing soon followed by the B-52’s on the 18th
June beginning the now inevitable war.
Several years past with fierce fighting, and finally on the 27th January 1973, the Paris Peace Agreement was signed, but this didn’t end the war. The Americans continued with the funding of the Sai Gon regime and so the attack re-ignited.
The American involvement finally ended on 30th April 1975, after substantial losses and investments in the war. On the same day, the Liberation Army attacked and succeeded to occupy Liberation Palace, forcing the Sai Gon administration to unconditionally surrender. The last of the Sai Gon army stripped themselves of army paraphernalia and fled for safety. The war was finally over, and the Americans had to concede defeat for the first time in their history (though many consider it a tie from the red white and blue sector…..)
Well, do I normally get this factual? I don’t care, I enjoyed the facts and history lesson. The photos on show to re-iterate the written scripts are incredible! The absolute show pieces being the famous photo of the tank crashing through the gate to Liberation Palace (a carefully chosen piece of propaganda might be a sensible suggestion), and the photo of discarded boots, guns, and gear left by fleeing (or more correctly, fled) soldiers.
There is the obvious anti-American biased, and I do question a lot of the facts claiming Americans were killing thousands of innocent civilians with their bombing campaigns. My reasoning behind this is not to justify the bombing (in my opinion dropping bombs on people has never made sense in solving conflict; quite the contrary, I find it a pointless, oxymoronic solution. It serves to build up future grudges after a grievance period), but to realise that it wasn’t just men fighting as Viet Cong, but women and children also playing there role, and then it can be explained with kill or be killed policies. I don’t know the fair balance, but I certainly wasn’t going to make an opinion based on the clearly biased point of view I had at hand.
The six sections were: (1) Historic Truths;
(2) Requiem: The Vietnam Collection; (3) Vietnam: War and Peace; (4) The World
Supports Vietnam in it’s Resistance; (5) Weapons of American’s and the Viet
Cong, and Casualties; and (6) Children’s Art Gallery. All reasonably self explanatory in what will
be on show there in terms of information and photographic evidence.
The outside has a bit more information on the war and has an array of tanks, anti-aircraft guns, planes, and helicopters. I really enjoyed this place and it was certainly worth the visit.
We left the museum when it was closing for lunch, so we followed suit and got some lunch as well before going to see the Notre Dame Cathedral and Reunification Palace. It was at this time the heavens really opened up, so to avoid drowning, we went in search of the Revolutionary Museum. We thought we’d found it and went inside, but it turned out to be the more disappointing Museum of Ho Chi Minh City. It did have a lot of artefacts, but not a lot of it really interested me. It actually entertained me slightly more than the Heidelberg Pharmacy Museum, but it was a close call. The room containing all the figurines and heads swung it in its favour (and the fact we hadn’t drowned after all).
We went back to the hotel after that from fear of more rain and boredom. To be fair it was a bit of an information overload for one day, and we fancied seeing Sai Gon’s night scene. We actually bumped back into William and Lydia (from Hoi An) and hung out playing pool with them for a while.
After a few drinks, myself and Lori wanted to find Apocalypse Now Club, and so with a couple of random people we got talking to, we went to find it. We’d actually been talking to a chap from the UK who had been transferred indefinitely to Sai Gon. He was probably touching on 50 and absolutely loving the direction his life had taken. After entering Apocalypse Now, I could see why! The club was basically full of two categories of people: (1) Vietnamese girls/hookers with a reputation for pick-pocketing; and (2) Men 40+ years of age, with pockets full of money to be robbed of/spend on Vietnamese girls/hookers with a reputation for pick-pocketing. We didn’t fit either category and so stood out like a sore thumb. It’s not often/never the case scenario where I am the second youngest in a club! Needless to say we abruptly left and rejoined William and Lydia at Go2 bar for a couple more drinks.