|You cann charge your phone through Pikachu :P|
So here’s the last installment for my Ho Chi Minh City adventure. I consider this as our most tiring but interesting day so sit back, relax, and enjoy reading!
Since we noticed that Trung Nguyen’s food is cheaper than if we go for fast food, we woke up early and proceeded to Trung Nguyen for our breakfast. We ordered coffee (but, of course) and enjoyed a nice and inexpensive Vietnamese meal. We needed the coffee since there’s still so much to do (shopping!!!) and it’s already our last day. Yikes!
The War Remnants Museum
Our first stop was at The War Remnants Museum. My husband has been dying to go here and one of the people we met the night before at the Backpacker’s District told us that even though he has already visited the said museum a couple of times, it’s still his favorite and he keeps visiting it again whenever he goes back to Vietnam (He is Vietnamese but grew up and lived in Germany).
The War Remnants Museum houses exhibits relating to the Vietnam War. When we went to the Reunification Palace, I’ve already learned so much about the country’s history; but The War Remnants Museum has taught me more and opened my eyes to the level of violence during that time and the war’s lasting effect to the Vietnamese people and those who took part in it. Majority of the things you’ll see in the exhibit were photos; but the violence is so graphic (accompanied by the stories behind them), that the fear and emotional distress during those times will really get into you.
The thing that struck me the most in the exhibit is the Agent Orange part. So what was Agent Orange, you ask?
Agent Orange was a powerful mixture of chemical defoliants used by U.S. military forces during the Vietnam War to eliminate forest cover for North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops, as well as crops that might be used to feed them. The U.S. program of defoliation, codenamed Operation Ranch Hand, sprayed more than 19 million gallons of herbicides over 4.5 million acres of land in Vietnam from 1961 to 1972. Agent Orange, which contained the chemical dioxin, was the most commonly used of the herbicide mixtures, and the most effective. It was later revealed to cause serious health issues–including tumors, birth defects, rashes, psychological symptoms and cancer–among returning U.S. servicemen and their families as well as among the Vietnamese population. (Source: History.com)
Even up to this day, Agent Orange has haunted the country as its people still experience the lingering effect of the said chemical. There are photos of people affected by Agent Orange most of which are children of the Vietnamese who’ve been affected and even of the American soldiers who got exposed. No one was 100% safe during that time.
If you’re going to Ho Chi Minh, you can never miss a trip to The War Remnants Museum. The Vietnam War was something I’ve only heard about as a kid from the older people. I remember my grandfather calling one of my cousins Viet Cong and I just thought that was just a colloquial word for being Vietnamese (just like how we sometimes use Pinoy instead of Filipinos). If it weren’t for my trip here, I would not have known all these things. Truly a cultural trip would always be a thumbs up for me.
Jollibee in Ho Chi Minh City
So after visiting The War Remnants Museum, we had this crazy idea to drop by a Jollibee store in Vietnam and do a comparison between their Jollibee and ours back in the Philippines. We almost got lost actually because Google Maps was initially pointing to the Jollibee Office in Ho Chi Minh and not the store… But after much patience, we finally located the store and ordered food. Interesting because the Jollibee here is incomparable to the Jollibee in the Philippines. I’m not saying one is better than the other but more of they’re both good in their own ways. Jollibee here in Vietnam has coleslaw as a side for their meals and they have spicier chicken meals. It’s a good change from my usual Jollibee order of 1 piece chicken (thigh part), one solo order of spaghetti, and one macaroni soup. This can probably be a healthier Jollibee.
More Walking and More Shopping
My husband loves walking. We never took a cab (unless it’s the one from the airport to the hotel and vice versa) and just chose to walk around. It was supposed to be tiring but I really enjoyed the place. And because it’s our last day, there’s the mandatory shopping. We went to the Ben Thanh Market and it was so much like Divisoria in the Philippines. We opted to converse in pure Filipino when making a decision about a purchase so that no one would understand us. Sorry that I do not have photos of our shopping trip in Ben Thanh Market. It’s because I prefer keeping my phone deep in my pocket because the place is very crowded and there may be a good chance that I will lose it if I wave it around carelessly. I mean, it’s not about the place but more in general, it’s not smart to wave your phone around in ANY CROWDED PLACES (Unless it’s a concert… That’s a totally different thing).
Because we are kind of used to how markets like this work (Divisoria peeps, let me hear you say ‘YEAH!’), we were very careful with purchasing and dealing with the stores here. I remember while buying a bag for a friend, I had this conversation with one of the sellers there:
SELLER: 1.5 Million Dong for the bag.
ME: It looks good, but it’s too expensive. Sorry. (Starts walking away)
SELLER: Okay, 700,000 Dong!
ME: (Still walking away)
SELLER: How about 500,000 Dong! (Running after me)
ME: (Shakes head and still walks away)
She wasn’t able to catch up with me and in the end, I was able to buy a good bag for around 400,000 Dong from a different store. It was intense and they’re very aggressive.
We also checked out Takashimaya in to compare their prices when it comes to makeup and they’re actually more expensive. Not much though. There was like, generally, a 100-300 Pesos price difference. So no makeup purchases for me in Vietnam.
Last Hurrah at the Back Packer’s District
My husband really wanted to buy some propaganda posters from a shop we saw along the Backpackers’ District. So we went back there again and hoped that it will still be open. If we miss it, my husband might get a little bit cranky and I wouldn’t want that.
It was raining a bit but we still pushed through and when we got there… Voila! It’s still open. He bought and he also got me my own propaganda poster. We’ll be displaying them once we got our own place (soon, hopefully) and I can’t wait. And because we were already at the Backpackers’ District, we opted to grab some beer (AGAIN LOL) and was able to talk to some tourists as well. This time, we’ve talked to some Japanese nationals and they were impressed at how my husband can speak in Japanese. We were talking about the Vietnamese culture and even about the Philippine politics. He knows a lot about it, apparently.
Goodbye and See You Next Time, Vietnam
I will miss Vietnam. Everything here is cheaper and it just feels like the Philippines only you’re surrounded by people speaking a different language. Food here seems healthier too so maybe I will lose a few pounds if I stay longer? Ha!
Anyway, my husband and I plan to go back but next time we’re heading to Hanoi. I can’t wait for my next out of the country trip and share my adventures with you all.
P.S. My husband just booked a flight going out of the country again this year. I’m renewing my passport and I shall travel again soon. Any guesses where I’m heading next? ;)