Monday, September 12, 2016

Ho Chi Minh City- Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City (used to be called Saigon but the name changed after the Vietnam War) is the largest city in Vietnam with a population of 18 million people: 

That's larger than all the people in the top 10 cities in Canada put together. And it is extremely hectic as this picture of a group of motor bikers show:

Notice the masks worn, more than half of the bikers wear these as they consider bike fumes harmful to their health. 

Something else we found quite interesting- the skinny, tall buildings throughout the city:

Land is considered such a premium that they will build up several floors just to maximize rental revenue.

When we chose Vietnam in our journey and did some research, we really wanted to see the War Remnant Museum. We were told to be emotionally prepared when we visit as we would be seeing the Vietnamese 'side' of the war. It is truly impactful. First, they show a quote taken directly from the U.S. Constitution:

Then the museum shows them not doing that. They show actual military tanks, aircraft and other combat equipment used against them. They present some very sobering statistics like i) the tonnage of bombs dropped on Vietnam was 3 times the amount of bombs they used in the 2nd World War, ii) that over 4 million Vietnamese lives were lost (their figure) and iii) that the toxic contaminant in Agent Orange, the most harmful chemical ever discovered by mankind to date, directly impacted another 2 million people.  But perhaps the most dramatic display of the war's impact were in the pictures on the walls of the museum taken by journalists killed in the war:

It is something we will always remember.  At the end there is a collection of artwork by young children showing their ideas about war and peace and one in particular caught my eye:

There was a veteran of First World War who said it best- "no one wins in war"- so true.

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