Reunification Palace & War Remnants Museum, HCMC, Vietnam

I always wanted to come to HCMC (Ho Chi Minh City) after skipping it last time. Now I’m here, I have to say; I prefer Hanoi! It’s ok here, but Hanoi has the lake. You can’t beat a city built around a nice lake. And the water park, you definitely can’t beat a water park.

So, I know I have been a total War junkie this month, but today I visited one of the most interesting sights ever. The Reunification Palace stands between Pham Ngu Lao & Dong Khoi in the centre of the city. It is famous for the iconic moment when Communist North Vietnam tanks smashed through the iron gates in 1975, ending the war. The place is frozen in time to that very day, with everything inside remaining untouched. How fascinating is that! I mean obviously they have pimped it for the tourists, but the decor is pure 70’s, and the whole place is like a huge, creepy, Bond villain’s layer. You are free to wander the four floors of preserved books, huge boardroom tables where world leaders once met. They had huge desks with military plans and old-fashioned telephones (black ones and special green ones that intrigue me.) Best of all a was a control panel with a huge RED button that was just aching to be pushed (and possibly a  WMD imminently launched.) There was a helipad on the roof and secret underground tunnels, the lot. I could have spent all day here.

(I took some nice black and white photos as the light was really cool, which are a good effort, even if I do say so myself. And since this blog has been starved of pics for so long, i’ve gona a bit David Bailey.)

Then we have the War Remnants Museum.  Everyone says it’s the better of the two so I saved it for last. And predictably it was terrible. Hundreds of tourists gauping at pics of Agent Orange victims, I don’t know, it just felt wrong. Hiroshima was similar in tone/context but because it was peaceful and quiet it somehow didn’t feel so voyeuristic? The only good bit was a stunning photography exhibition on the top floor; Requiem, showcasing the work and stories of famous war photojournalists. : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

Blasts From The Past…

November 2011

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