War Remnants Museum

At 8am Mum was banging on our door asking for clothes for Ali who slept in with them last night. It’s so good to see them first thing and I have my coffee sat on the end of mum’s bed. We head off for breakfast and the kids go wild! Ali has a mixture of sushi and chocolate cake for breakfast amongst other things and I’m not surprised when he starts complaining of belly ache. (Sorry Di!)

We sit and look at loads of photos on our laptop. As Mum and Paul moved house they have been unable to access our website while their internet has been off and have loads of catching up to do. We also look at photos of their new place and our niece Hope who is growing big now.

We set off for the Jade Pagoda. There doesn’t seem to be as many temples here as we have seen in some of the other Asian cities we have visited but this one is supposed to be very impressive. We get out of the taxi and the smell of the incense is very strong. The temple depicts The Taoist Jade Emperor. (The King of Heaven) and also has some interesting wooden panelled carvings showing the ten halls of hell. We point them out to the kids and tell them you have been warned! They were more interested in the birds in cages and turtles and terrapins for sale outside!

We have planned to visit The War Remnants Museum this afternoon and get a taxi to the bank of the Saigon River first for a drink. We spend an hour or so there chatting and catching up on news from home and watching the boats going past. When we arrive at the museum it has just reopened after lunch and is very busy. We spend an hour or so wandering around and looking at the exhibits. These mainly consist of photographs and there are some very upsetting and graphic images of both American and Vietnamese suffering.

Worst of all are the photos of Vietnamese people injured by Agent Orange and napalm. We stand and look at the famous image of a naked little girl running down the road screaming having been injured by napalm. It is grim viewing and reminds us of the evil of war. Having looked at the replica’s of so called “tiger cages” when political prisoners were held I feel like the kids have seen enough and we leave. In the taxi we talk about the war, all they can say is that it is horrible and I feel sad that they aren’t little innocents like Hope anymore and like all kids are aware of bad stuff in the world.

Like in Cambodia I worry about them knowing stuff and don’t want to upset them but don’t want to ignore it and pretend it didn’t happen either. It’s difficult trying to balance this in a sensitive way though.

It’s very hot now and we are in need of a bit of aircon so stop off for some drinks and pizza. When we get back to the hotel Simon and Ali go to the gym. (Mad) and Mum, Paul and Maisie go swimming. I lie on the bed reading Hello magazine and generally chilling out.
In the evening we cross the road to a sushi bar, Ali is desperate to show off his love of sushi and I think Paul is very brave when we are offered an almost raw egg to drink. Simon also knocks his back but the rest of us chicken out.

After dinner we catch a taxi to Pham Ngu Lao and have a walk along the busy streets. We stop for a drink and watch the world go by. Ali asks for a tonic and they bring him gin and tonic! I ‘m tempted to have a go on a machine that weighs you, checks your blood pressure, takes your temperature and plays the theme tune from Titanic when it’s all done. The kids persuade me it’s a bad idea though and I guess I am a little concerned about having my temperature taken with some grubby thermometer!

We get back around 11pm and crash out, feeling very tired and hoping to have a good nights sleep.