And so now I go on with the story of our adventure in Vietnam. After snoozing a bit, it was time to visit the local tourist destinations in Ho Chi Minh.
First stop, the Reunification Palace.
|The Reunification Palace, Vietnam|
The Reunification Palace is where the Vietnam War was ended. In 1975, a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gates and declared the victory of the communist party, thus ending the Vietnam war. That said tank can still be seen at the grounds of the Palace to date.
Having a picture with a young lady at the Palace's souvenir shop. Oh, a little trivia, they DON'T call females "miss."(E.g. Miss, how much is this shirt?) Instead, they use "Lady" and "Madam."
Having my picture taken with a statue of Ho Chi Minh. He was a Vietnamese Marxist-Leninist revolutionary leader who was prime minister (1945–1955) and president (1945–1969) of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam). He was a key figure in the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945, as well as the People's Army of Vietnam and the Việt Cộngduring the Vietnam War source: wikipedia.
|Meeting Hall of the Reunification Palace. This was where top leaders gathered and made|
important policies and decisions.
Inside the Reunification Palace, you can expect to see the president's office, meeting halls, conference halls, and a view of the City.
After an hour touring the Reunification palace, we walked around the block and saw this restaurant. We didn't know what to order so we sorta just told the waiter to "surprise us." And this is what we my tita got ---
|Tomato and pipino salad|
I asked for their local best seller and this is what I got --
|Pancake with veggies.|
After eating our mirienda, we went to the Saigon Post office which was just walking distance from the restaurant. This Post Office was built by 20th century French colonizers. It features a Gothic architectural style and was designed and constructed by Gustave Eiffel with the original materials flown from France.
|Inside the post office.|
|Notre Dame Cathedral|
Just opposite the Saigon Post Office is the Notre Dame Cathedral. The design reminds me of San Sebastian Church in Manila. We wanted to go in and pray, but it was closed. Notre Dame Cathedral was built by the French between 1863 and 1880.
|Tank you very much. My first photo with a tank.|
Outside the building is a large collection of military vehicles, planes, and helicopters that was either left by the departure of The US forces or they were captured by the North Vietnamese Army.
|The War Remnants Museum.|
The museum speaks for itself -- a compendium of the effects of modern warfare.
|Effect of Agent Orange|
"Agent Orange." It's the first time I really got to understand what Agent Orange meant. Agent Orange is the common name used for one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program. It is an extremely toxic dioxin compound. Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects.
It is said that during the Vietnam War, between 1962 and 1971, the United States military sprayed nearly (80,000,000 l) of material containing chemical herbicides and defoliants mixed with jet fuel in Vietnam, eastern Laos and parts of Cambodia, as part of a war operation to defoliate forested and rural land, depriving guerrillas of cover and to destroy the ability of peasants to support themselves in the countryside, thus depriving the guerrillas of their rural support base and food supply. (source: wikipedia)
My first day in Vietnam was unique because it's not the usual fun getaway that we Filipinos expect from a vacation. Most tourist spots in this part of Vietnam are all related to war. It was depressing. It didn't sink in to me until it was time for us to go. I didn't know United States of America resorted to chemical warfare in an attempt to win a war. What a shame! The Vietnam War is a ghastly shadow that continue to haunt our very souls.
More stories of our adventure. Next, I will tell you guys how we left Vietnam and set foot on a journey to Cambodia.