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Ho Chi Minh City museums

Sunday 22nd November

I wandered through the park and bought two Vietnamese coffee-makers on my way to the Ho Chi Minh City Museum. This covers revolutionary history (it was originally called the Revolutionary Museum), but also has some ethnographic material (on minorities, marriage traditions) and displays showcasing Saigon as a centre of commerce and industry. Most of the captions had English translations (which could have done with some editing).

From there I took a taxi to the Museum of Vietnamese History. This is organised chronologically. As well as artifacts such as Dongson bronze drums, it has dioramas and paintings. The presentation is both nationalist and Marxist.

Next door I went to a water puppet show. This is more for kids than adults, but was fun. I also visited the nearby Zoo/Garden, which was full of people and children, presumably because it was a Sunday, and had lunch there.

museum courtyard
water puppets

Back downtown, I ate some cakes from a bakery and chatted to a girl carrying a folder from a seminar on studying in Australia.

Nguyen Giap books
Learning English is clearly a big thing, with several bookshops full of English books. As well as books about Vietnam, there are lots of learning materials, such as IELTS textbooks, and specialist works.

The latter included such expensive items such as genuine Springer maths textbooks, with price tags over 1,000,000 dong. Surely everyone in Vietnam just photocopies these, or buys cheap unauthorised copies?

I bought a copy of Last Night I Dreamed of Peace and went to a local coffee chain Nguyen Trung and had their most expensive coffee (46,000 dong or about $3 Australian, and rather good).

motorcycles everywhere
in a hurry
town hall and fountain

After a rest in the hotel, I walked to the Sheraton to go to the rooftop bar for views over the city. A drink and some snacks proved rather expensive.

rooftop view
rooftop gardens

I paid for an extra night at the hotel so I could shower and repack properly before leaving. I got ripped off by the taxi to the airport, whose meter had clearly been fiddled — I should have taken one of the bright yellow VinaTaxi cabs.

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