Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Jun 7, 2012


We got up early this morning to leave our hotel at 6:30 a.m. to board our two-hour flight leaving for Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) at 8:15 a.m.

Mr. Thang, our local guide received us at the airport. He suggested that we go sightseeing before checking in at our hotel. At 81 degrees (27 C), Ho Chi Minh City was hot.

War Remnants Museum was our first stop. This three-story structure was opened in 1975. On the
grounds, outside the building are airplane, tanks, and weapons of war.

On the walls of the first floor there are posters from around the world showing support Vietnam’s struggle.

One poster shows a child playing with a gun bears the following poem:

When I was a child
I spoke as a child

I understood as a child,
I thought as a child
But when I became a man
I put away children things.

One room is devoted to children’s peace paintings.

Upstairs, there is a comprehensive collection of photos and documents relating to the wars
against the French and the United States. The collection has the famous picture of children, including a naked girl, burnt by a napalm bomb, running through the streets.

Also the forest and human devastation caused by the Agent orange has been documented. Every-thing is designed to tell the Vietnam’s side of the story.

Lack of air-conditioning and elevators, along with the gory pictures made our visit to the museum a suffocating, stressful and grim experience.

Next we went to the Emperor Jade Pagoda (Phuoc Hai). It was built as a Buddhist-Tao shrine, by the Cantonese community, around the turn of the 20th. Dedicated to the Jade Emperor, who determines who will be allowed to enter the heavens, its other parts house the King of Hell and the Goddess of Fertility.

Besides incense, people make offerings of money, goldfish, and tortoise with their names written on their backs.

At the pagoda we met an Indian-looking couple and their daughter, who all were born and raised in Vietnam.
We were now tired and hungry. Therefore we went to a Vietnamese restaurant for lunch consisting of tempura vegetable, fried vegetables, fried rice, vegetable soup, and fruit, with ice-cold water.

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