The heat was indeed ON in Saigon when we were there. Literally. It was quite a pleasant surprise to find that the City I originally only identified with the Cameron Macintosh musical actually has a lot to offer. It’s easy to get lost in images of “Platoon” and other Vietnam War movies and completely forget the fact that Ho Chi Minh is a progressive and thriving city that is definitely worth your while. Read more
I’ve been on numerous trips to other “local government units” before, but I can count only with one hand the number of times I bothered to check out the “City Halls” of those cities. And even in those few ones, I went because we had to, not because I wanted to. (FYI, I work at a City Hall.) But I can’t say this one was intentional, too. It just so happened that, while walking around, we passed by what turned out to be the City Hall of Ho Chi Minh City. Read more
Back when I was a teenager, I was, for a time, into this whole “pen pal” thing. It allowed me to interact and be friends with people on other parts of the globe. Some, to this day, I still keep in contact with, albeit sporadically. So a huge chunk of my schedules back then included trips to post offices. Then e-pals (pen pal, only this time, thru e-mail) happened. Who knew, years later, that I’d be spending a lot of time at a post office, and see it as a tourist attraction? Because that’s exactly what the Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh is. Read more
I have gotten used to hearing about the Philippines being the largest Christian nation, in terms of percentage of participation in Asia that I still find myself surprised when I see traces of Christianity in other Southeast Asian countries. Which is stupid, because being the “largest” should not mean we’re the only one. And yes, Christianity also prevailed in Vietnam, and combine that with French civilization due to France’s occupation of the country in the past, and you shouldn’t be too surprised to stumble upon the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral while walking Ho Chi Minh’s streets. Read more
I cannot believe we’re nearing the end of July, guys. Time flies so fast when you’re having fun. Or so busy. Which is sad, because deeeern, when do we get to do all the fun things, eh? I’m having a bit of a walkabout-drought here, it’s a good thing I can let my mind drift back to previous visits, like this one foray into a palace in the heart of Saigon: the Independence Palace, or the Palais de l’independance.
People visit museums for several reasons. One of the most common reasons is so that they could take a peek at something far removed from what they are familiar with, and be transported back in time, albeit through relics, photographs or works of art. However, I doubt that a visit inside the War Remnants Museum would make you want to go back in time, to this particular wartime.
Remember how I said that, when I was inside the Hoa Lo Prison and was surrounded by what may be one of the darkest periods in the history of Vietnam (the French occupation, to be more specific), I felt this certain heaviness that kinda made it difficult to breathe? Well, that still did not prepare me for my visit to the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh. The pain is real, and I wasn’t even part of that period of history. (This post is rated PG. Parental Guidance is strongly advised… due to some violent and graphic images and descriptions.) Read more