Before we decide to explore the city we find ourselves in the pool right after breakfast. We let the sun dry us and change into light clothes and leave the hotel to enter the city heat. We walk and look around and learn the HCM way of crossing the street as it’s far different from the Hanoi technique. While mastering it we get to to propaganda cafe where we have lunch and to wait until the war remnants museum opens at 13:30.
When traveling Vietnam you can choose to go south to north or as we do north to south, since the stops on either route are about fixed changes are that you run into people that you meet on tours on other occasions. The fact that many travelers rely on the same source of information, the lonely planet, the changes only increase. So we ran into a couple we met at Sa Pa and in Hoi An we met a women which was on our Ha Long bay tour. In Hoi An we even sat besides friends from home by pure coincidence, it indeed is a small world sometimes.
We pass the Notre Dame and the post office before we arrive at the war remnants museum, the courtyard of the museum is filled with helicopters, planes, tanks and artillery from the US troops. The three floors of the museum take us through the history of Vietnam during the first and second Indochina war, the second better known as Vietnam war. In Vietnam however known as the American war and in the museum referred to as the aggression war against Vietnam. And as I had little interest in history during school and I have seen mainly documentaries about the Second World War I learned a lot during our visit. The many photos on display gave a glimpse of the cruelties that have taken place in this country with the effects of agent orange as most inhuman center piece. We where both rather quiet during the walk back to the hotel.
The afternoon we passed without much activity as we recharged by the pool for the evening program. Marlies had found a HCM city night tour on the back of a scooter ridden by women which made her even more excited. My experience so far with the traffic in this city made me conclude that I would for this one time be better of not riding myself. At six we where picked up from our hotel by two Vietnamese women with the scooters and extra helmets and after a short safety instruction we where on our way. Not having to concentrate on the road and traffic We had all the time to look around and take in the city. Our tour took us through various districts of the town from the Chinese quarter to the expat district and the former mafia district. While chatting and singing our guides navigated us through the buzzing evening traffic before returning as to the hotel after the three hour tour. A truly amazing experience after which we settled at the rooftop bar of the hotel for a nightcap.