Saigon: the War Museum.
After settling in to our hotel in Saigon, our first stop was the "War Remnants Museum," which is the new, more tourist-friendly name for what used to be called the "American War Crimes Museum." A subtle name, no doubt, but effective in conveying its point nonetheless. (It's called branding, people!) Anyway, as you might imagine, this museum was all about the Vietnam War. Or, as they like to call it in Vietnam, "The American War." Why they call it by the wrong name I have no idea, but different strokes, different folks, etc. etc. etc.Anyway, I was a little ... not worried, exactly .. but nervous (maybe?) about the museum, since I wasn't sure what we would find there. I mean, I'm not always happy with the way America is run (especially lately, which makes me pretty much like everyone else in the country) (well, everyone else who enjoys the many benefits of higher brain functionality), but it's not like I wanted to go see a museum about killing Americans or something. Luckily, I didn't have to worry, because this museum was mostly dedicated to the many ways Americans killed the Vietnamese, so no worries. Plus, it had tanks (!), so it was actually pretty cool. When you first go in, there's a big open courtyard with all kinds of American military hardware that was either "captured in battle" (their perspective) or "left behind when we decided to take off because we already had way cooler stuff back at home" (my perspective). Stuff like this:
This plane was really beat up. I can totally see why we didn't want it and left it behind ...
I kept thinking there should be a big "Don't Pull This!" sign here or something. I mean, you'd think someone would have tried to pull it by now, don't you? I mean, not that I tried, but there's a good chance the plate might not open anymore. I've heard.
If you see this, you should duck:
This was not the last chopper off the roof. This was one that we left behind because we'd already picked up everyone we'd needed to ...
Okay, guns are neat and everything (note to you children: Guns are bad! Guns kill! Killing is not okay! Unless you are killing: a) aliens; b) Nazis; or c) alien Nazis. Who says videogames don't teach you anything?), but this part of the exhibit was actually much more interesting. It was just a big room with photos of the war, taken by journalists from both sides who had been killed in the fighting. Which, granted, did bring me down a little, but the pictures were cool, so I guess that makes it all worthwhile:
(Note: I didn't take a lot of pictures of the pictures. Not only because that's just a little too post-modernly recursive or something, but also because I had, in China, been continually annoyed by crowds of people taking photos of photos--I'm looking at you, National Geographic exhibit!--so I decided to practice what I preached. For once.)
I thought this was a pretty cool picture. But you know what could have made it better? If "Ride of the Valkyries" was playing out of a speaker next to it. Missed opportunities ...
This is the Vietnamese Army (NVA, I guess) raising the flag over Dien Bien Phu. If that doesn't mean anything to you, read this and then read the book Dispatches:
The patches/badges of all the US military units around Saigon, which I thought was interesting. Although I'm not sure why, since I don't actually know what any of them stand for. Well, except the big, red one up in the top-left corner. I'm pretty sure that stands for The Big Red One ...
Light reading. As a side note, I didn't know that the First Air-Cav was a cracker unit. I mean, didn't the army finally integrate after WWII?
More to come from Saigon ....
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Previously, on my vacation:
- Saigon: the Streets.
- Hoi An: The River.
- Hoi An: My Son.
- Hoi An: the People.
- Hoi An: the Streets.
- Hue: Zoom, Zoom.
- Hue: the River.
- Hue: the Imperial Tombs.
- Hue: the Imperial Palace.
- Hue: the Streets.
- Halong Bay: the Videos.
- Halong Bay.
- Hanoi: the Random.
- Hanoi: Water Puppets.
- Hanoi: the "Hilton." '
- Hanoi: the People.
- Hanoi: Zoom, Zoom.
- Hanoi: the Streets.