Well I managed to start and finish the day with a delicious banh mi…. oooooh yeah. And check out that safe shop… can you imagine being the poor bastard who has to put those outside every morning…?!
The Cu Chi tunnels… 121km of underground tunnels used during the war, which not only served as escape routes and hiding spots, but housed hospitals and ammunition storage rooms.
The areas surrounding Cu Chi are home to acres of rubber trees…
Also, just had to take a picture of a truckload of My Dung [*giggles like little girl*].
After the Reunification Palace (previous post), it was walking distance to the War Remnants Museum, which was opened a mere 5 months after the end of the war. It was originally called the “The House for Displaying War Crimes of American Imperialism and the Puppet Government”, later changed to the “Museum of American War Crimes”, then renamed the “War Crimes Museum”, but today is called the War Remnants Museum.
After buying a very nice copy of Lonely Planet Vietnam (for $3), we headed straight to the
Reunification Palace (called ‘Independence Palace’ during the American occupation and as ‘Norodom Palace’ during the French), which is said to have remained largely untouched since the PAVN tank bulldozed the gates outside on April 30, 1975, marking the very end of the American/Vietnam war. I don’t know how truthful that statement is, but the interior decorating does scream 1960′s!
Completed in 1873, the French built the palace after their successful colonial conquest of Cochinchina, with building materials mostly imported from France. It served as the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the American war, and was even under Japanese control for several months at the end of World War II after defeating the French in a successful coup. It was then bombed in 1962 by two rebel Southern Vietnamese Air Force pilots and destroyed. President Diệm ordered it rebuilt, but was arrested and assassinated after yet another coup d’état in 1963. A couple more coups later (both failed and successful), the palace was inaugurated in 1966 by Nguyễn Văn Thiệu (who’s name should ring a bell!).
(If you aren’t familiar with Vietnamese history (and this sort of thing interests you), check out some history books, as I did prior to my visit, and although I am somewhat of a history nut already, Vietnam has a very interesting and colorful heritage full of upheaval… worth checking out).
The basement had an interesting layout of old military command centers and bomb shelters, as well as a massive kitchen and shooting range… among other things. If you get the chance to visit, make sure to watch the hilariously propagandist and not-at-all biased films as you exit.
This blog will begin shortly… images, stories, and general nonsense about a lonely Belgian-American photographer-extraordinaire and his relocation from Brooklyn to Shanghai.