Fasten your seatbelt, Saigon is on the rise!
Trip Start Dec 22, 2010
7Trip End Jan 21, 2011
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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
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
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
I will be back. Soon. And I hope this inspired You to get out and see the world, wherever your destination might be.
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