"Long time, no see" -A man I met on the street in Ho Chi Minh City after telling him I was American
I dropped into Backpackerland in Ho Chi Minh City late on May 12th, in the hopes of getting an idea of what the town had to offer. It was, in many ways, your classic Southeast Asian nightlife spot, like Manila. I had only a day in Ho Chi Minh, so I set out to eat and drink, then wake up early the next morning to see the sights before the tour started at 6pm. However, I still had homework to do so I spent a large part of my time avoiding the heat in Vietnam’s Thuc Coffee, a local iteration of Starbucks, working on my geography assignments between sights and tastes. I went to a Vietnamese restaurant, getting a bowl of soup. It wasn’t Pho, but Bun Bo with the traditional greens and other vegetables, a side of bean sprouts, lime and chili, and pork belly. I also got Goi du du, which actually was not as good as the goi du du I have had back home. I wandered the central park in HCMC, walking by the reunification palace before braving an onslaught of green- jacketed bikers on the streets and even sidewalks of the city. They worked for Grab, a local rideshare company, and I simply could not believe that they would not stop to let one of their own cross! Did they not know that I was a vital figurehead in the Indonesian rideshare movement? Beyond the bikers was the war remnants museum, a fascinating look into the futility and , more so, the evils of “American aggression,” as the museum dubbed what Americans know as simply the “Vietnam War.” A largely unpopular war, at least according to my liberal upbringing, it was interesting seeing the local opinion within their own government’s perspective. The horrors that the United States military committed, between the use of Agent Orange and other chemicals, killing innocent civilians, and bombing innocents, is something that American history tends to gloss over. I also traveled to the post office and a local cathedral, both magnificent buildings, as well as an opera house, before meeting with my group at the Ambassador Saigon Hotel.
Victor Bernabei is just another millenial travel blogger. But here's the twist: He isn't a millenial! His goal is to see as many countries as he can, and spread the message that the world is not as scary as the news wants you to believe, and that there is beauty in all people, places and things.