I have decided to start with Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam.
I traveled here in July, 2007, when I was 20. I liked it! It was a very busy city, but I remember some fun times.
By busy, this is what I mean:
(my camera wasn't the greatest but if you click on the album link you can see more)
It was an art learning how to cross the street without getting hurt. by this point, I had been in asia for over a month so I thought I had a handle on dealing with motorbikes, but Saigon is an entirely different story!
What I loved about Saigon (I think people call it HCMC these days, but I like Saigon because it's quicker to type) is that for such a dirty, kind of pessimistic city (people here weren't nearly as friendly as the ones i met in other countries) it had the most colorful buildings.
I know this isn't a good example, but just wait for my Nha Trang post. EVERY building was a bright, pastel color.
Saigon is also the home to a lot of Vietnam war museums. Nothing is more depressing, for an American, to see the shit we did to these people because we didn't think communism was right. WTF!?
I don't agree with war, I don't agree with killing, but I really REALLY don't agree with what we did to the Vietnamese. & they're still red. we made no difference except having a bunch of people killed. Lame.
The other thing I vividly remember about Saigon is that it's the first place I saw in SE Asia that had Diet Pepsi. Yep.
Anddd.. hopefully this has changed.. but they had a tendency to bag EVERYTHING:
|From Saigon/HCMC Vietnam|
Another cool place I went was on a tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels. We saw many ways of hiding and how many Americans were killed.
Even though things happened before our time, such as the Vietnam war and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, you have no idea how much these things still affect those who live in the countries they happened in. While we moved on, there are still land mines reacting and killing or dismembering innocent people who step on them. The Khmer Rouge wiped out a quarter of Cambodia's population, and the first I ever heard of it was when I actually WENT to the country. (this is for another day but it's something I've become quite passionate about!)
It just shows how much you can learn by embracing another country. Maybe they don't speak English, but you can learn so much about yourself & other people when you put yourself in their shoes. I know it's easier to ignore for most people, but for some - like myself - it's impossible! I plan on going back sometime soon.
aaaaand for good measure:
thx for reading! I'll post another city soon.