11.02.2013 - 11.02.2013
View Great Escape to the East! on Tam-Jo's travel map.
Today we tackled what we knew would be one of the more difficult museums on our trip - the War Remnants Musuem (formally the American War Crimes Museum). We were both still feeling a little tender after Tet, and despite Dan's warnings that the museum would take several hours to get through, we attempted to get through it in the 40 minutes between us arriving and it closing for lunch. We didn't manage it! But we did spend the morning in the upper reaches of the building going through a very moving exhibition of photographs of the war, taken by photographers that had died in the war. Their stories and pictures made it all seem very real to us, in a way that no other site until then had managed. It also told a story of American losses in Vietnam, something largely overlooked elsewhere as the numbers pale in comparision to the numbers of Vietnamese killed. Needless to say, it was very, very sad.
When closing time came we were a little relieved to have a break. We went to the nearby cinema and booked tickets to see the only English language film showing - A Good Day to Die Hard. What can I say? Is it time for Bruce Willis to give it up? Maybe, but he still kicks ass! Then lunch, and a wander around Saigon (which was half empty because of Tet!) to see the Notre Dame Cathedral and to find a post office. Then back to the museum.
Our afternoon was spent looking at pictures of the effects of Agent Orange, a herbicide sprayed in vast quantities over southern Vietnam to try to expose the Viet Cong, who were adept at hiding in the forest. It is easy to see the effects today on the streets of Saigon, and these genetic abnormalities look set to continue into the future here. The museum also contains an exhibit on the massacre of a whole village by American soldiers, which was hard to get through.
By kicking out time we were both feeling emotionally drained. We had dinner (i.e. comfort food) at a Mexican restaurant across the road and then headed home to watch some trashy TV to soothe our poor heads and hearts.