After our tour to the Cu Chi tunnels, our tour guide said that we could either be dropped off at the war remnants museum or we could be dropped off where we were initially picked up in the morning.
We had already made plans to go to the war museum. Like so many places on our travels so far, we were dropped off somewhere quite near to the destination as opposed to the destination itself.
This is something that was consistent throughout China, whether it was a taxi dropping you near the train station or a bus dropping you quite close to the bus station.
By this time in our trip, we have got to the stage where we don’t even give a second thought to this practice so we walked around, lost, for a wee bit and eventually found our way to the museum.
At the entrance to the museum, it gave the impression that it would be similar to the ‘military history museum’ in Hanoi but just a bigger version of it.
When you pay your admission fee, you go into the grounds that have various tanks and aircrafts that were either left behind by US forces or were seized by the Vietnamese during the war.
Inside the museum, the displays in the ground floor are quite similar to what we’d saw in the various musuems within Vietnam too. There were a large number of displays which showed how the people of other nations round the world were against the Vietnam war.
When you went up the stairs to the next level, there was another section with a load of photographs from various photographers who died while covering the conflict.
One in particular that stood out was the picture of a US soldier holding the head of a victim, there were various other hard hitting photos in the gallery along with some information on the photographer and the picture itself.
After this point was the ‘agent orange’ section. This is a defoliant that destroys all vegetation in it’s path. The reason for it being used was to destroy the rain forest and jungles which in turn made it easier to find entraces to the underground tunnels that I mentioned in a previous blog.
As well as destroying vegetation, it also destroyed a lot of people. Even today, in Vietnam, people are still affected by this. The chemical is still in parts of the ground and people have been consuming it, indirectly, through food and water.
In turn, this has caused genetic mutations in some of the Vietnamese people and the effects of this were shown in this part of the musuem mainly in the form of photographs.
The museum does show some very graphic images such as deformed children and adults alike but at no point does the museum appear to have an anti US message. It does, however, have an anti war message.
I suppose if the people who authorise wars knew or cared about the effect that it has on innocent people or had to experience it for themselves, there might not be as many wars in the world.
This museum is quite an eye opener and it has a lot of information without overloading you. As were approaching the end of the agent orange part, we realised that it was close to closing time so we quickly went into the last section but never really had time to properly see around the place.
When we left the museum, it was time for downpour number two of Vietnam. The rain was “bucketing doon” as we’d say back home. We took shelter in a bus stop for a while and when it eased off a bit, we went back to the hostel that we were staying in.