War Crimes and Gutter Balls

Blog entry created by: Meagan

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Hello Metropolis!

When you think of Vietnam, huge cities with gigantic shopping malls and ridiculously crowded streets probably aren’t the first things that come to your mind.  They certainly weren’t the first things I thought of!  But Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) is exactly that. Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh City is home to over 8 million people, and offers a wide variety of tourist attractions.

Much To See and Do

Our 4 days here are packed with a variety of activities, starting off today with a long walking tour around the inner city.  I wasn’t feeling well this morning, so I stayed behind and rested while everyone else headed off this morning, but I was feeling well enough to meet them for the War Remnants Museum later in the afternoon.  Fortunately, I didn’t seem to miss much, because the others had spent much of the time planning our upcoming travel details with a local travel agent.  They only went to the Reunification Palace before I met up with them at the museum.

The War Remnants (aka horrific American war-crimes) Museum

The War Remnants Museum, in short, is a museum dedicated to the horrors of war crimes that the Americans and the Chinese inflicted upon the Vietnamese people.  Well, it’s supposed to be about that- all I saw was American war crime evidence.  It was horrific.  The pictures and captions were gruesome- from massacred families to the effects of Agent Orange.  I’ve never been so embarrassed to be an American.  My initial thoughts were along the lines of “this can’t be right… we couldn’t have done this!” but as I continued to see picture after picture of the horrors, my thoughts became “What were we THINKING? I am so sorry!”  True, there has got to be a certain amount of bias involved in what is displayed at the museum, and that terrible things were happening on the other side of the Vietnam War as well.  But it was still sobering to see the harsh realities of war.

Time to Bowl!

After that moving experience, we decided to lighten up the mood for the rest of the evening. We have a habit of doing that it seems- after the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam we drowned our sorrows at the Ice Bar, and after visiting Dachau concentration camp in Munich, we ate our feelings at McDonald’s.  So after a nice meal, we headed (somewhat coincidentally) to a bowling alley on the top floor of a pricey department store.   They even had corn dogs at the bowling alley!  I got an impressive 13 gutter balls and a total score of 28 during our first game, only to amaze everyone during our second round and come in second place by 4 points!  The first game was just my warm up :)

Coming Up…

Ho Chi Minh City has a huge variety of things to see and do, and is a popular destination for travelers (assuming by the TONS of white people/foreigners I’ve seen since we’ve been here).  Although it’s pricier than some of the other towns and cities in Vietnam, it’s worth it to spend a few days seeing the sights.  Things we are doing in the next few days include seeing part of the Viet Cong tunnel system used during the Vietnam War, yoga, a water park, and rock climbing- we are enjoying the variety of activities the Ho Chi Minh City has to offer!

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Posted on: March 16, 2011 | Categories: entertainment, recreation, Travel Tips, Vietnam, World Conflicts



  • Aunt Lori says:

    Please do keep in mind that war is ugly and tourist attractions do generate revenue……all sides will have a tale to tell from a singular perspective….visit the Vietnam War memorial in Washington, DC when you get home. You do not need to apologize for the past Meagan. Do not seek forgiveness, continue to seek understanding and learn from that knowledge. American soldiers follow orders. I am proud of your awareness and infinate bowling powers!

  • David Albert says:

    Meagan -

    Good note. You should know that thousands of American soldiers refused to follow orders, refused to commit atrocities, and that this refusal was so widespread that by 1972, the War was conducted almost entirely from the air. Yes, atrocities continued – Agent Orange, etc., and now we have something similar as four American Presidents have used Depleted Uranium weapons that cause thousands of birth defects – this would be worth your looking up.

    Still, I believe people are naturally good (no original sin for me, thank you), and that the true purpose of education is to learn to treat each other better. You are getting a FANTASTIC education.



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