Fasten your seatbelt, Saigon is on the rise!

Trip Start Dec 22, 2010
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Trip End Jan 21, 2011


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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ho Chi Minh City. Electric. Energetic. Fasten your seatbelts. We navigate trough concrete jungle dotted with an occasional park here and there, filled with skillful badminton players and young couples cuddle tight scooter to scooter. This is a fast and youthful city, a neon and plastic extravaganza lite up by 1.000.000-s of light bulbs at night. We treat ourselves to a cyclo ride and marvel the electrical skills that it must take to not light this whole city on fire on a daily basis. Our little cyclo rider pumps as hard as he can in the late afternoon heat as he now has a goo 300 extra pounds to navigate around in massive traffic jams.

The Saigon traffic. It is a living, pumping organism that never stops. No rules (to my western untrained eye) but somehow everyone gets everywhere they need to go in one way or another. Traffic is coming towards us on both sides (!), traffic is floating around, behind and infront of us in a mad honky-tonk blues. I tuck my legs and feet in as much as I can, worried that someone will simply get so close to us that they snag a piece of me with them.

We arrive at the Sheraton safe and sound and head up to the 26th floor where we can escape most of the traffic and look out over the city as the sun sets in beautiful colors thanks to the heavy pollution in the air. We sip our fancy drinks in our most elegant clothes that we brought and feel like a million bucks toasting to an amazing trip. Below us, the city nightlife is starting to pulsate getting ready for yet another hot Saigon night.

If you are going to see one thing in Saigon, the War Remnants museum would be my suggestion. Brutal, raw and in-your-face. I suggest you bring some tissue 'cause this is a tough one. It opened in 1975 and is one of the most visited sites in the city today. Here you can see images taken by 135 war photographers from 11 nationalities (most of them killed in the war). These images are breathtaking as well as heartbreaking and not an eye is dry in the whole building. You can also view replicas of the infamous tiger cages where prisoners were kept as well as torture techniques and stories from prisoners. One exhibition hall shows images of children being born with birth defects from Agent Orange. As I look trough the images and read the stories I realize that most of the Agent Orange that was used, was used in the very area we just motorbiked trough on the Ho Chi Minh trail.

We took some time to contemplate and simply just take a breather outside the museum. I couldn't but think that all this horror, the death and destruction, torture and humiliation is going on this very minute, this very second on several continents of the world. It is 2011 and we still can't get a long? Humans must be the only species on the planet that systematically kill our own kind, our own breed. Isn't that strange? I think of Yaa, our H'mong guide in the mountains in Sapa. In her village Christians, Buddhists and other religions all live together in harmony and has for a long time. I am so lucky to have been born in Sweden and to have the opportunity to travel the world, cross borders and meet new interesting cultures and people. I admire the Vietnamese people for their hospitality and their ability to forget as they welcome Americans, Chinese and French visitors after their more than violent history. Joshua and I NEVER felt, any anger towards us ( I travel on my American passport this time), not once did we feel hostility when someone learned where we live. That is impressive and admirable.

From what I have seen and from the people I have met in the north, the central parts and now southern Vietnam, this country is on the way up. With one of the worlds fastest growing economies, hard working people and young fire- Vietnam is on it's way to the top and we have a lot to learn from their culture.

I will be back. Soon. And I hope this inspired You to get out and see the world, wherever your destination might be.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my blog. I love you all.

Yours truly,
TheSwedishVagabond

 

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Comments

DADDY on

Micaela & Josh
I wish I were with you, what an exiting holiday you are spending!
Best reguards from a frozen Stockholm

Mamma on

Hej älsklingarna! Vilken resa! Så fantastiskt du skriver Mickisen. Det måste ha varit en otroligt stark upplevelse på muséet. Vilken kontrast att sitta på Sheraton. Sitter uppe en liten stund efter att ha legat i sängen i 3 dagar. Är totalt slut och några kilo lättare :) Hoppas resan hem inte blir alltför jobbig. Pussiluss

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