Monday, February 29th, 2016
It was our first full day in Vietnam and we decided to spend it walking to the War Remnants Museum. Before going inside, we wandered around the outdoor portion of the museum where there were a number of U.S. military helicopters, tanks and weapons on display.
There was also a life-sized model of cells used in the Con Dao Jail, including “Tiger Cages,” a guillotine, and other torture devices. The list of torture techniques used was hard to read.
Inside the museum, there were several sections on how the war was started, collections of war documentary photos from over 130 journalist from across the globe (all of whom died during the war), and aggressive war crimes from Agent Orange to massacres. I got choked up a number of times. It was a sad event for all involved, but it was interesting to see things from Vietnam’s perspective.
We strolled through the very pretty and serene Culture Park on the way back, then grabbed lunch at “Thuc Don Restaurant” to eat Pho Chin (nam) or beef rice noodle soup with brisket. A retiree from Melbourne and his partner from Hue joined our table at the very crowded restaurant, and we gabbed about travel. His partner was a fan of Trevor’s beard and asked for a picture with him before they left.
While walking back to our hostel, we browsed the price tags of some motorbikes, still debating whether or not we were going to bike the rest of our way through Vietnam. After setting up a tour for the next day, we returned to the hostel where we’d see a flyer for two motorbikes for sale, a good deal at that, but discovered one of them had already been sold. We took it as a sign. We had a couple beers out and about, then skimmed through some shops before returning to pick up our laundry.
We were craving burritos for dinner and filled the void at “Tres Ninos Mexican Restaurant.” The food was good, but even if the food was absolutely incredible, we wouldn’t have returned there.
During our meal, we witnessed the owner of the place screaming and getting verbally abusive towards his Vietnamese girlfriend in front of everyone dining there. We asked our waitress if the girl was okay, not wanting to get involved, but willing to do so if she was in physical danger.
Once we were done eating and things settled down, we started walking back to our hostel. I wear a shoulder bag and have a habit of tapping it as I walk in public. This habit came in handy when a girl tried to pickpocket me in route. As I reached to tap my bag, I felt a hand, which I instinctually grabbed ahold of. I looked down and her fingers were in the process of squeezing into my now partially unzipped bag. I just stood there, staring into her eyes, not knowing what to do next. I proceeded to yell at her in front of a table full of drunk Westerners, then let go of her wrist. I could hear them chuckling behind me as I watched her storm off.
We did something unwise next. We decided to pursue her. She started wandering through back alleyways and we followed until we were stopped by man who wouldn’t let us walk any further. After yelling at the guy about her attempted thievery (which he probably couldn’t understand), I noticed there were a number of eyes on us and none of them looked welcoming. If we continued down this path, unpleasantries were likely going to follow, so we made a U-turn back to the main street. Nothing was stolen from my bag, but I was still feeling a little heated. We did the rest of our drinking in our room, and a surprisingly quiet night followed.
Jump Back to Cambodia: Part 1: Busing Across the Border to Ho Chi Minh City
Jump Ahead to Cambodia: Part 3: Tiny Coffees, Tower Views & Pineapples
Start from the Very Beginning at Part 1: Don’t Forget to Pack Your Anxiety