So Long Saigon

Trip Start Dec 05, 2007
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11
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Trip End Mar 05, 2008


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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Thursday, January 17, 2008

We made the flight down from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) and after three days here, we're leaving via bus tomorrow morning for Pehnom Phen Cambodia. Saigon is very different from Hanoi, it's much more spread out and the pace seems a lot slower. We haven't done a whole lot, mainly walked around. Today, we took motos to the War Crimes musuem, which is all about the American War (Vietnam war). It focuses on the many acts of violence, torture and horror inflicted by the US on Vietnam. The exhibits were very powerful and exemplified not only the total lack of compassion of our military towards people but also the brutality with which the environment of Vietnam was destroyed by the massive spraying of herbicides. These herbicides also have had terrible effects on children born of parents who came into contact with the chemicals. There were many powerful photos and quotations from soldiers, photographers and Vietnamese civilians. It was a very troubling exhibit but very important to experience. There were many parallels that can be drawn from our involvement in Vietnam to the current actions in Iraq including the wanton torture and mistreatment of civilians and prisoners. I was struck by the contempt for humanity that can be achieved when people are forced into combat with each other. In the words of a zippo lighter I saw here in Saigon, "Fighting for peace is like screwing for viriginity."
On a lighter note, we then went to the Jade Emperor Pagoda where we saw lots on incense being burned a chamber called the The Ten Halls Of Hell which were woodcarvings of various horrible occurences that apparently happen after you die, if you're bad. From there, we walked to the zoo/botanical garden and spent some hours walking around looking at lots of animals and plants. The zoo was nice and there were some cool animals that you can get pretty close to. There's a video of a lion that some guy was teasing that I thought was gonna lose his arm. Yep, so Saigon is a cool city and I'm actually sorry to be leaving Vietnam with so much of the country unseen. Also, I apologize for bad mouthing the food(pun not intended), the more I've eaten, the better it's been.
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Comments

greggdart
greggdart on

Hell and beyond
Did the wood carving illustrate the sins of war?
Cambodia will be another mix: brutal regime exercising dictatorial power of life and death (all documented, of course) and bucholic countryside.
Should be good food there, too. Much love, Dad

wolfjaws
wolfjaws on

Hello from Antarctica
Jonah,

It was great to read and catch up on your adventures. I made it out of WAIS and am rotating back to New Zealand tomorrow. I cant wait to see some trees! Have a great trip and cant wait to get back on the trail together.

andy

cdnski12
cdnski12 on

12,000 French Troops surrendered @ Dien bien Phu in 1953. 5 months later, only 4000 came out alive from the Vietnamese Prison Death Camps. North Vietnamese are really brutal people. Needless tosay. The Northern Crime Families now control most of Vietnam. Commies = Crime Family.

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