Still… 29 March 2013
After a long walk around in Reunification Palace, I walk across the park in front of the Palace.The park is famous with young people gathered there to just sit, listen music or having a chit chat with their friend. I also saw some people do the picnic there or just sitting and eat something.
For me, the park itself so cool. I wish I can stop a while and enjoying the surrounding, but instead of stop, I continue my walk to a building that color pink out there.
That was a Notre Dame, or what Vietnamese called as Duc Bac Church. This original name of a place always make me confuse and distract the conversation with my Vietnamese friends. They always mentioned it as “Duc Bac Church” when at the same time, I only remember the name is Notre Dame. So I always said ; “Where is Duc Bac?” and they always asked me “Where is Notre Dame?” …. Language oh language…
I didn’t stop in Notre Dame, cause the heat pushed me to find an Air-Con room and calm my self first before taking another step to see the city.
It was a very hot day. Even for me, a Tropical girl, I can’t stand on it. I feel so thirsty and sweating. I’m looking for an Air Con room, I’m sorry my Traveler soul, I need a comfortable space right now. Then my eyes saw a building with name I am so familiar with, The Coffee Beans and Leaves! Yuuhuuu… I ordered one blended Oreo and Cookies Frappuccino… I feel so relieved! That sweet cold drink made me feel much better. Now I can breathe. It is so nice to be inside of cool room, while outside is so hot like an hell. I am a little bit feeling guilty myself, hahaa, cause I always consider to choose local food or local drink when I am traveling comparing to eat western food. But this time, only this time, let me entertain myself with that sweet temptations cold drink in front of me.
I was waiting for a friend. She lives in Tay Ninh, 2 hours from Saigon. It’s really a cool thing how we both know to each other. As I said before in another article, I was planned to go to Vietnam since year ago. But I canceled it. When I plan to go to a place, I usually try to find local friends first, so I understand the country a bit before I arrive. Then, we already contact for a year. We’ve been chat and added to each other in Facebook but never meet face to face, until today. She will come in the next few hours and we will go to the trip together to some cities in Vietnam. I was so exciting! It felt like meeting with an old friend. Then Tra joined me in the Coffee Shop then Panda came.
After got some breathe, we were heading to a restaurant for lunch. Again, it was Tra’s idea and her choice always brilliant! She brought us to a place that really beautiful!
The decoration inside it looks so hommy and old, but clean and the food? Don’t ask me… Again, Oh GOSH!! I love Vietnam food!
I forget the name of those meals. I really can’t understand Vietnamese, even I always considered as Vietnamese from my look and eyes, but believe me, I don’t understand their language. They have so many accent or punctuation mark on their words so make me difficult to pronounce their words, even their name.
After that very delicious food, I think, as I remembered, we paid around 300.000,- VND for the three of us. We shared the bill and I thought it can be considered as cheap for eating a lunch as that.
Me and Panda continued the journey to visit the War Remnants Museum. It was built on 1975, after the Americans gone. Located in District 3, if you are a bit confuse how to get there, grab taxi. Mai Linh Taxi is the expensive one but trust able comparing to others. We paid for 15.000 VND/each, and the museum is opened until 5 pm. This museum is counted as the most popular museum in Saigon for Western Tourist.
I didn’t expect the Museum will turns me so sad after visit the place. Inside of it, there’s some rooms that generally divided as 3 floors; in first floor, you can see the children section such as the children drawing or activities when and post the war time.
Then we were heading to the up stair. There, I gasped on shock when I see the pictures in the wall. It was tearing my heart so bad. The Museum tells you a lot about the Vietnam War and what happened at that time. There is so bad to see from pictures how the Americans spread the toxic through their mission such as Agent Orange, Agent Pink, Agent Purple, etc, to destroyed some villages and cities in Vietnam. I was moving in heart when I see it all with my own eyes. There’s also some pieces of the bombs, the guns they used, fractional aircraft, mask and things that collected to be remember of that era.
As I can quote from the statement in their wall, here’s some brief introduction of the Museum :
“In the war of aggression in Vietnam, the US not only used conventional bombs and armaments, but also chemical weapons to wipe out surrounding natural resources and prevent the forward march of the Liberation Army of South Vietnam. In the 10 years from 1961-1971, toxic rains poured down continuously on Central and South Vietnam, defoliating mountains, plains and crops, destroying clean water resources and upsetting the delicate ecological balance.
According to US Defence Department data, from 1961-1971, the US Air Force sprayed 72 millions litres of toxic chemicals of various types on Vietnam, including 44 millions litres of Agent Orange containing 170 kg of dioxin. In a study by scientist at Colombia University (New York) published in Nature magazine, the total volume of toxic chemicals that the US sprayed over Vietnam amounted to approximately 100 million litres, and the content of dioxin reported was double that of previously announced figures. According to the study, 3,851 communes suffered direct chemical spraying and the chemical directly affected between 2.1 and 4.8 million Vietnamese people.”
I don’t understand why after Ho Chi Minh as Vietnam’s president declared Vietnam as Independent Country after colonialized by France for over 100 years, in Hanoi 1945, then suddenly America came and tried to make safe Vietnam but it made them worst and suffered!
”.. Vietnam has the right to enjoy freedom and independence and has really become a free and independent country. The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilize all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their liberty and independence.” – Ho Chi Minh, 2 Sept 1945
I tried to google a bit, then I think, this opinion finds me good ;
“From 1946 until 1954, the Vietnamese had struggled for their independence from France during the First Indochina War. At the end of this war, the country was temporarily divided into North and South Vietnam. North Vietnam came under the control of the Vietnamese Communists who had opposed France and who aimed for a unified Vietnam under Communist rule. The South was controlled by Vietnamese who had collaborated with the French. In 1965 the United States sent in troops to prevent the South Vietnamese government from collapsing. Ultimately, however, the United States failed to achieve its goal, and in 1975 Vietnam was reunified under Communist control; in 1976 it officially became the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. During the conflict, approximately 3 to 4 million Vietnamese on both sides were killed, in addition to another 1.5 to 2 million Lao and Cambodians who were drawn into the war.
No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now. —Richard M. Nixon, 1985”
It teared so bad when I saw the effect of that chemical. Not only it can killed people immediately, but worst of it, it effects the next generation. There are so many babies born around 1990 above that still effect by that toxic.
I learned a lot from the pictures I saw there. I see the positive energies of Vietnamese people through the pictures. It was so true what I read from a Travel Book before I departed to Vietnam. I ever wrote it on my Facebook wall;
“…. Lucy Forwood (Discovery Channel) has lived in Vietnam since 1992 ; “If there’s one spirit that you can’t escape in this country, it’s the irrepressible optimism of the Vietnamese. And it’s so infectious, I guarantees that when you leave, you’ll bring something of that optimism home with you.” – a good statement to starting plan my trip 🙂 FEEL IT!! Yayyyyy!! 🙂 #Vietnam ….” March 25.
And it is so true. Their eagerness of living and passion to live their life to the fullest touched my heart. If you see this photo below, you will understand how I feel.
I remember how I sometimes complaining about my own life. I know I am not an angel, we are not. But saw their pictures make me realize how lucky I am and how beautiful my life is. I should never complain and never give up. I should live my life to the fullest as how they cited to me.
No matter what the reason is, never never NEVER brings RIGHT and HAPPINESS. Too many victims, too many suffering, too many savage from war. It’s never right. NEVER.
Once you finish see inside, go to the yard, near to the Exit Gate, there is another room for showing us the TIGER CAGES, a special cell for the detention of political prisoner considered as “stubborn” by the Saigon Authorities. Again it is so sad 😦
I wish peace now over Vietnam and other countries in the world, as Jimi Hendrix ever said ; When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.