Ho Chi Minh Saigon
On our first evening here we walked about 15 blocks from our hotel to a high-rise building along lovely, wide boulevards filled with parks and trees. Now, there certainly were dense streets and alleys going off the boulevards, but this was a far cry from the supreme overcrowding of Hanoi's old quarter. Our destination was the Diamond Complex: complete with a department store, movie theater, and a pulsating games club (not to mention the offices of such companies as Exxon Mobil). Keep in mind that "department store" in Asia implies a 4+ floor behemoth carrying designer clothes, clinique/chanel/etc. beauty products, housewares, and a supermarket -- the whole of an American mall.
It was Saturday night, and only downtown Tokyo could be more trendy than what Erin and I saw on display at the club packed with pulsating music, bowling alleys, video arcades, pool tables, and bars. These were the sons and daughters of Vietnamese businessmen that had Made it Big here in Saigon, and they were out for a night on the town. Erin and I just wanted to soak it all in and catch a movie at the theater up on the 13th floor. Iron Man turned out to be quite entertaining. The AC and fluent English for a few hours in a hot and muggy foreign country never hurts either.
We spent today doing some sight-seeing. The Ho Chi Minh City museum, which details the Great Victorious People's Liberation Army's various victories over the Evil Aggressor's Colonial Puppet Regime's atrocities in Ho Chi Minh City. We then went to the War Crimes museum, which detailed with brutal imagery the Evil Aggressor's Colonial Puppet Regime's atrocities against the Great Vietnamese People.
Yes, America was superbly wrong in gross acts of war crimes during the Vietnam War. Hell, we most certainly shouldn't have even been here. I also think that the War Crimes museum does a good job of showing what war really is: Hell. But the museums here make supremely clear that in war it is the French and the Americans who commit atrocities, never the Vietnamese. History is written by the victors.
That being said, I love Saigon.