Touching Down at Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh City Travel Blog› entry 1 of 3 › view all entries
Same Same but Different...that is how Saigon is. This city of motorcycles is a city of contradictions. It has hustlers, kind souls, rude people and kind people...busy streets and shady ones, fashion in clubs and no-care attitude in the streets, posh malls and ramshackle stalls along the sidewalks...all extremes but coexisting in this busy place they call Ho Chi Minh.
Touching down at Tan Son Nhat Airport, it was 1AM, Vietnam time. As typical of airports, taxis were waiting at the gate who I'm sure will be charging us exorbitant fees. Negotiations were in order. Still, at the end of it all, the driver won at 400,000 VND. That was a rip off but we were too tired to argue. We checked in at Metropole Hotel...a very nice 3star place with a pool.
The next day, we hit the roads starting with the War Remnants Museum. I know Vietnam would not be Vietnam without the War. I was prepared for too much depression...and that was what I saw. Looking at the mangled bodies, the empty shells of bombs and missiles, the abandoned GI tanks, the victims of Agent Orange, the pain and death of the Vietnamese, I realized that here is a people that has dealt with so much loss and sorrow. After the war ended in 1975, they have been busy putting back their lives together, gathering up the courage to face up to life and mend their wounds. I come from a country with a history of so many revolutions and countless deaths but my country's bloodied past is nothing compared to the Vietnamese. Now I understand why they are not yet that developed as a people in modern times, why they cling to the past, why they refuse to embrace Westernization, why they look at the world and outsiders with disdain and sometimes a blank look in their eyes.
Still, I admire this country for the resilience and its strength to live again.