The itinerary for the weekend was pretty relaxed in Saigon.
1.) Check out the Reunification Palace
2.) Check out the War Remnants Museum
3.) Day trip to the Cu Chi tunnels for an organized tour
4.) Check out the nightlife of Saigon.
5.) Tour the markets
Friday we did the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants museum and the market. The Palace was interesting to see for a few minutes, but nothing that really held our attention. Snap a few pictures here, check out some rooms as they stood still from the 70’s and call it a day. From a historical perspective, this is where the North Vietnamese took over the Southern Vietnamese and reunified Vietnam.
After that we grabbed some lunch, upon the recommendation of someone Erik knew, and it was quite good. Although one item on the menu certainly raised some eyebrows.
In fact after speaking with someone on the day-trip to Cu Chi, he mentioned that Thailand ships dogs to Vietnam, and they mix this into ground meats. Compared to Thailand, Vietnam has a sparse amount of stray dogs, which makes you think if this rumor is really true. False dog meat aside, the meal was quite good, deep fried spring rolls and Bo Bun Hue, which is a spicier version of Pho, with more elements of Lemongrass.
We then took a stroll to the Ben Thanh Market, to see what they had to offer, and overall the market stunk. Both literally and figuratively. Open air stalls with fish and meat and durian abound in the stale muggy air. The smell induced instant nausea, now combine that with vendors hemming and hawing at you to buy their wares, and overall it was not a fun experience. Compared to some markets I’ve visited in other developing countries such as Peru, Cambodia, and Thailand, this ranked as the worst of the worst.
Next stop was the War Remnants museum, a place I was very interested in checking out. The Vietnam War is a war of great interest to me, as it was the first war to truly be broadcast by the media, and it’s only one generation removed, so it’s really not that long ago. Throw in the fact that there are quite a few awesome movies depicting the war, it’s pretty easy to find the all of the information there interesting, especially from the Vietnamese point of view. I’ll save my thoughts on that for later, wanted to get something out to keep everyone posted…Stay tuned for more Vietnam!