Well, I am not sure I am cut out to be an American tourist in Ho Chi Minh City.  Maybe I am better suited to be a working person.  I actually find being a tourist more tiring than the work I was doing at the Centre.

You remember that I got to the hotel at about 6am after taking the day/night train from Hue.  I showered and had breakfast and was picked up at 9by my guide Lien.  She packed alot in from 9-3.  In the morning we went to theIndependence Palace a 1960’s designed structure where President Thieu lived until the North Vietnamese crashed through the gates on April 30, 1975.  This has been preserved as it was for people to see.  The most interesting aspect for me was the basement.  Set up as a bunker and rooms that were very similar to what I saw in London at the Churchill War Museum.

From there we went to the War Remnants Museum.  The physical reaction I had to this was similar to Yad Vashem.  The horror of it was overwhelming to me.  I felt physically drained.  Yes, I was probably tired from all my train travel and lack of a proper nights sleep but I think it was more than that.  The museum is not large.  Two floors of photos and quotes and descriptions of the actions of war and the consequences.  The after math of the defoliants, agent orange,etc has continued to reak havoc on the people here and, as we know, in our own country.  I am now, more than ever, firm in my belief that a military should be for peace keeping NOT destruction.  Ok, I know that I digress.  So the bottom line is I was pretty drained after this museum and despite Lien’s effort to reassure me that the people in Viet Nam have forgotten and moved on I was not able to let it go so easily.

So after lunch where I had little appetite  we went to yet another Pagoda and the Chinese market.  As much as I usually love the energy of the market today I just wanted to go back to the hotel and collapse.  So by 3 I was able to do that.  I also induldged in another foot massage at the hotel spa.  It was a little different than the one I had before I left Hanoi but quite relaxing.    It rejuvenated me enough to take a walk to another market to buy tea and ginger (for Paul) and have a quick bowl of Pho for supper before coming back to the hotel to get to bed early so I can be refreshed for the day tomorrow.


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