Saturday, February 18, 2017

Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh

I attended the Vietnam Technology Conference along with several other ASB teachers.  I was making a presentation there about sustainable innovation.  It was a long flight to get there - via Singapore.  I've been to the north of Vietnam before but never to the south, so I was keen to see how it compared.

Saigon South, where the conference was held, was quite a way out of the "downtown" area.  We stayed in a hotel downtown which meant we could walk to all the major sights.  These included the statue of Ho Chi Minh and the Notre Dame Basilica.  Some of the architecture had a definite European feel (as did some of the food).

But there were also other parts that were very reminiscent of South East Asia, for example take a look at this woman who has set up her entire shop (selling pop-up cards) on the back of her motorbike.  Not quite Thailand - most of the pavements were very wide, well maintained, and clear of people selling things on them - and so definitely very different from India.

One of the most moving things we did there was to visit the War Relics Museum.  Outside the museu in the yard there are various pieces of military equipment, for example helicopters and fighter planes and bombers.  Inside there are several rooms devoted to photography showing the impacts (even right up to the present day) of the use of Agent Orange and napalm, as well as photography of various war atrocities such as the My Lai massacre.

The War Remnants Museum is close to the Independence Palace (also known as the Reunification Palace).  It was the home of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War, and symbolized the end of the war and the fall of Saigon in 1975 when the North Vietnamese tanks crashed through its gates.  We took a walk around the outside of the palace, before heading off to the market to go shopping.

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