• Brian D. Hinson

Random Pics from Vietnam

And one random story.

At night in the streets of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), a local stranger with some gray hair wanted to practice his English and asked Joel where he’s from. He says, “United States.” The stranger’s features harden and his hand clenched into a fist. “America?” He looked like he wanted to punch Joel.

Joel looked to the member of our group that lived there, a native Canadien, but far more familiar with the language and, well, everything. “A little help here?” She spoke to the man and he cooled down. He was a little drunk himself.

These pics get big if you like. Here's some cooking, a panel from a Buddhist temple, and a cockfight in the village along the Mekong where we did a homestay.

This was 2002. The war was a little more fresh in the minds of some, and war leaves little good memories. A few years before our arrival Vietnam had changed the name of the “American War Crimes Museum” to “The American War Museum.” Yes, it is very much worth a visit. It’s interesting to note that the American press is given some kudos on their reporting on the massacre at Mei Lai. In fact, the whole Time Magazine spread of their huge article covers a wall. The American citizens that took to the streets to protest the war are also given some love in the museum.

Slideshow: The wonders of the Cu Chi Tunnels

A portion of the Cu Chi tunnels, instrumental in the Viet Cong’s war against American and ARVN forces have been made into a museum. For a fee you can also take a few shots with an AK-47. I didn’t partake, but I watched.

The author is not good at darts.

That singular encounter with a Vietnamese citizen was just that—singular. Everyone else we met was warm, friendly, and welcoming. And the nation was doing quite well, as far as we could see, in case you’re wondering how folks fare in a communist nation. The streets were very busy and all the shops and eateries looked to be doing well. The streets were a hell of a lot cleaner and far less pollution-choked than Bangkok. We didn’t witness any of the poverty or political strife that we saw in Cambodia. Take this trip when you can.

The author's wife Kathleen enjoys a spin in Ho Chi Minh City.

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