Monday, 5 August 2013

The horrors of warfare.

I am literally in the worst mood ever due to quite possibly the worst hostel ever. I say I fell in love with HCMC, that is the city, not our hostel. NEVER EVER stay with Hanoi Backpackers 2/ Lofi Inn. Awful experience, avoid at all costs.
We didn’t receive our bed sheets till gone midnight and then we had four Spanish people knocking on our door trying to come check in at 3am, before deciding they hated the place and leaving - disturbing our sleep. At 8am we had air conditioning repair men come in meaning we couldn’t get changed in our room. We were the only ones in a 10 bed dorm, defeating the point of a hostel as we wanted to meet others to party with. The bathroom was also disgusting and we were all together fed up and attempted to refuse to pay for the room in a furious rage. In the end, we reluctantly paid and sulked out, promising to write a bad review on every website possible.
During the night one of the girls at the hostel had her bag stolen from her - HCMC city is the worst for crime. If you have a bag on your shoulder, a bike will come past and just grab it off you and speed into the distance - nothing you can do. We felt so sorry for her as it had the keys to her larger bag, her camera and her money in - thankfully in Vietnam you have to give your passport in when you check in. It was also her birthday the next day! Worst luck ever. The taxis are also often rigged meaning that we were really cautious of getting one.
We ended moving to a really nice private room for the same price on party road with a balcony overlooking the hectic chaos that is Saigon. We rolled around, watched TV and then decided to go on a trek to the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants museum (i.e. American War Crimes museum). Along the way we came across the market from last night - turned out we were in the wrong place and it was a day time market, not an evening one! It was filled with every fake good you could ever want and people everywhere shouting ‘Lady, Lady, what you want?’, it gets very annoying very quickly!
There wasn’t much to see at the palace so we walked to the Notre Dam Cathedral. We were very tired by this point as it was a bloody long way and we took a long route round but we struggled on towards the museum. The museum was just shocking, I found myself welling up on every floor. The crimes the Americans committed were just appalling and although the museum was very biased, (in fact, it even wrote clearly that the ‘gulf of tonkin’ used to justify the war, was a myth made up by the US government’), it didn’t detract from the sadness. 2 million civilians died and very graphic pictures of this was shown. ‘Only’ 1 million soldiers died.
There was also a section on the effects of agent orange - again, mortifying. It was horrific seeing all these deformed children and those screaming for help after an attack had occurred. The facts and figures were beyond disturbing. Words can’t express how horrid it all was. I wish everyone could visit it to see the real horrors of war :(.
Reunification Palace (where the Vietnam war ended)
Me and my best friend Ho Chi Minh.
Notre Dam Cathedral.
'May Peace Prevail on Earth' from the War Remnants Museum
We ended up getting a taxi back to the hotel and watched ‘The smurf’s’ film, when we got dinner we ended up bumping into Dan Lak! From Koh Tao, 6 weeks a go now. How crazy is that, just on the middle of the streets. We agreed to meet up with him later in the evening and just our luck - we strolled across him again in a bar so sat down with his friends. The guys just shotgunned a lot of beers, the rate at which they could down them was seriously impressive. I met a lot of lovely people and got merry. One started rolling a joint in the middle of street and just lit up passed it round. Nobody battered an eyelid despite the smell. It’s as if drugs aren’t illegal here (which they are - just to clarify) haha. 
View from our hotel balcony. 
Eventually I crawled back to bed and watched films till 4am, one of the 9/11 attack which was really sad! Then fell asleep…

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