There is something about this city that is reminiscent of places we have been before, but yet still a place all it`s own. They have open air markets, crazy traffic, and lots of history. Saigon became Ho Chi Mihn City with the fall of Saigon to the Viet Cong army or the Vietnamese patriots as they call them here. The name however is seemingly interchangeable.
Yesterday, we went to the war remnants museum. What I enjoyed about this museum is the overall focus on how war impacts people. It did not focus too much on the whose right and wrong, but more so on what war does to people. I have very few pictures of this trip because many of the images and displays were very raw and emotional. The human capacity to harm one another is a sobering reminder of just how imperfect we all are and how the cruelty of war can skew what is acceptable human treatment. I have all kinds of historical impressions and commentary here running through my head, but I would rather discuss happier topics.
In general the people of Saigon are some of the nicest people we have met so far, with the exception of the immigration workers, to which D said he thinks they all must take a class on how not to smile and be generally disinterested in humans. My favorite interchange was the little corner restaurant that our hotel receptionist told us about that seats you with others as they want to serve as many people as possible. Our Vietnamese companion was explaining her noodle dish to us as best she could. Another table was warning me not to put too much chili paste in my noodles (they do not know my tolerance is higher than most :)). The people are friendly and want to be helpful. It is clear that our Vietnamese could use some work!
Another interesting aspect of Ho Chi Mihn and what I have heard is most major cities in Vietnam is that the American dollar is a widely accepted form of currency. The American dollar has a high value in their currency. Lunch yesterday cost $7.00 that was for crab spring rolls with noodles, bahn mi, beer, and iced coffee.
Another interesting aspect of the market is that it turns into a night market after dark. Essentially many of the stalls inside move outside, even in the rain, which was warm and amazingly comfortable.
This morning after a pho breakfast (a typical breakfast in Vietnam). We are going to explore more of this busy metropolis. Tonight is our first overnight train ride through the country, so expect a commentary on train travel!
Sayonara for now… D&M