Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saigon

The bus ride to Saigon was one of the most enjoyable bus rides on my time in Vietnam. It was not crowded so I started with an open seat next to me. At one point during the trip a mother and her 2 children got onto the bus and the little girl after staring at me for a long time decided it would be OK to sit next to me. She was a little sweetheart.



She seemed to like my MP3 player and listened to my music for most of the ride and
drew me pictures. Her mother tried a couple of times to ask me questions but I never did understand what she was asking so she gave up after awhile but my little friend kept me entertained for most of the bus ride and seemed to make the time fly.

I found Saigon depressing. Everywhere in Vietnam I had been to until Saigon I did not feel like anyone had anything against me for being an American. This was a real pleasant surprise. I have a lot more cold shoulders in European countries where the country is suppose to be an American ally and where many Americans died trying to support them in one of the 2 world wars. Vietnamese have a reason to hate my country and they don't seem to at all.

I visited what was once called the War Crimes Museum about some of the things done in the Vietnam war and the after effects from all the chemicals used like agent orange. This was depressing but the thing I found the worst was all of the cyclo drivers. A cyclo is a type of rickshaw where the seat for the passenger is in the front rather than the rear. Most of the cyclo drivers would tell me about them supporting the South Vietnamese/US governments during the war and they are still repress due to their past support. I had one guy that kept saving "Never Forget" and "Your Life is Better Than Mine". This is the first time on this trip that I wanted to say I was from Holland.

I visited the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Jade Emperor Pagoda, the History Museum, the
Reunification Museum and spent one day walking around the area call Cholon visiting
different pagodas. The thing I found strange about the pagodas is I enjoyed all of them except for the ones that the guidebook recommended as the ones you had to see. I found the carvings on the roofs of the pagodas just amazing.

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