Monday, November 7, 2016


This was the terminus of our Mekong River cruise, disembarking for a tour in Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City. As you can see, there were a few motorbikes to contend with on the road.

We started our morning at the presidential palace, then toured the War Remnants Museum. We were forewarned that the museum is often difficult for Americans, particularly those who were of age when the Vietnam war occurred. Obviously we knew it would be the Vietnamese point of view, and the signage told the story of that.

Somebody's son, brother, uncle and possibly father. I couldn't help but wonder what was his name, where he called home and if he survived the war.

At one point, I got choked up thinking about the young men of my parent's generation, 18 and 19 yr old boys sent to the other side of the world to fight the Viet Cong. Tens of thousands wounded and dying thousands of miles from home. As evidenced by the pictures, war was hell for everyone. The soldiers, as well as civilians. The Agent Orange room was particularly horrifying. The collection of old US military planes and tanks on the grounds of the museum was quite interesting.

We had a chance to see some of the old French colonial architecture after lunch. The post office was a pretty shade of yellow. I liked how they repurposed the old phone booths to make it a safe spot for ATM transactions.

Below is the OTHER Notre Dame cathedral. Obviously not the major religion in this region of the world, it was one of three Catholic churches we visited on the cruise.

As expected, we saw several temples. My favourite was the one with the sacred turtles. Devout worshippers would purchase a turtle from the vendors across the street, then release them into the turtle tank on the temple grounds. I couldn't  help but wonder how much turtle recycling occurs on a regular basis in order to keep the tank from getting overpopulated.

We enjoyed a lovely view from the rooftop bar of our hotel late in the afternoon, paying with dong, the local currency. As you can tell by the 200,000 bill, the exchange rate heavily favoured the US dollar. Our $60 was worth several million dong.

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