April 13, 2019
Currently in the (chaotic) city of Ho Chi Minh. I got here yesterday after a 6 hour bus took me from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, Cambodia then an 8 your bus took me from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh.
A side note on my day trip to Angkor War yesterday, I saw some performers missing limbs with signs saying they lost them to land mines. I’m sure there are plenty of scams around such a touristy area, but I think it’s near impossible to fake missing limbs. I do know that America ran an intensive bombing campaign in Cambodia and called it a secret war. I can’t help but feel partially responsible even if this was before my time. I made a small donation for the sins of my country. Small comfort to those effected, but better than turning a blind eye.
Back to Vietnam, I’m visiting partly because I want to visit every country in the world and partly for my interest in the Vietnam War. And I must admit, I’m not much of a food person, but I like my Pho.
Today I saw some old hardware manufactured by the American Military Industrial Complex. This includes the Huey helicopters, a tank and some jets seized by the NVA during the fall of Saigon in 1975. There didn’t seem to be all too much interest judging from the number of tourists. Then again, I’m one of the few American nationals here (I’ve yet to meet another one). There are a few more war sites I want to see, and I’ll probably run out of things to see again, which is fine, I’ll make that time productive.
On another note, while I was wandering one of the fancy shopping malls today, I noticed that whenever I wandered into a department store, immediately a worker would begin tailing me or worse still, they’ll stand right in front of me staring at me and follow me down every aisle. Can’t say I’m happy about this and this is the first SE Asian country that I’ve seen workers so direct about profiling me. Now I have a glimpse of how black dudes feel back in the States.
As for the people I’m meeting, I’ve found that I haven’t been hanging with them much. I told myself to not be too cool for school before I left for Thailand. I did not move half way around the world to hang out with Westerners whose major past times include partying, eating and drinking, I can do this back home. My focus is on locals.
Kingston S. Lim
April 13, 2019
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam