I had to put this pic at the top because I forgot to put it up yesterday and for that, I am eternally sorry. Besides, the main pic can’t always be majestic shots of buildings. Majestic shots of buildings below.
Today started as it usually does, with our free hotel breakfast. This hotel does things a little differently featuring things like beef stew and spaghetti carbonara on their breakfast menu. Also this.
After breakfast, the first thing we did, the very first thing, was go to the War Remnants Museum. Formerly known as, in descending order of severity, the “Exhibition House for US and Puppet Regime Crime” and then “The Exhibition House for Crime of War of Aggression” until finally being given the name it holds today. I don’t really know what to say about this. It was pretty terrible. As soon as we walked in, a guy with no arms walked up, asked us where we were from. Then he told us that he’d lost his arms to a landmine postwar, and asked us for money. He basically asked us for reparations.
You know how most of the time, when you go to a museum, you walk around in a cool peaceful building and look at beautiful testaments to the best of humanity? This was the opposite of that. I wanted to be dismissive and write the whole thing off as propaganda, but there’s no denying we did a lot of terrible things and it was hard not to take it personally. Probably I was supposed to take it personally, but I don’t know what lesson I was supposed to learn. Americans are monsters? War is terrible? Something about remembering history lest we be condemned to repeat it? The history of war is one it seems we’re condemned to repeat whether we remember it or not. I guess it’s important to see the other side of the story, even if you don’t like it. The last thing we saw was the Agent Orange exhibit. We skipped the one called, “Agent Orange Consequences Through Children’s Paintings.”
We stumbled back outside and sat down at the coffee shop located right by the exit. We sat there with the other tourists trying to wash away what we just saw with hot cups of capitalism. Je-sus. What are we supposed to do now? Carry on, I guess. We went in search of the bun cha that had eluded us the day before.
We found it in the backpacker district. This place was well appointed with nice tables, exposed brick walls and the tiny, uncomfortable seats that, to me, Vietnam is now famous for.
The bun cha was delicious and was far superior to the bun ca, in my opinion. Little sausage patties in a delicious broth with noodles and greens. Probably my favorite dish so far. We managed to take zero pictures of it. I didn’t even take a picture of the right menu page. We are terrible food bloggers.
Side Note: Trip Advisor has an iron grip on the world. Everywhere we went had something up about posting a Trip Advisor review. The tailors in Hoi An had us do it while they watched and the fucking war museum had their Trip Advisor rating posted on the wall. 4 out of 5 stars. “Yeah the employees were super nice but I took away a star for the atrocities.” I’ve posted two reviews so far and I got an email from Trip Advisor telling me that I’m in the top 5% of reviewers in Los Angeles, whatever that means. Two reviews gets you in the top 5%? It means you’re on notice Los Angeles. I’m coming for that top 1%.
Joe is really into textiles. He told me this as we were walking to our next spot. Despite being friends for over 10 years, I did not know this about him.
“Are you being serious?” I asked.
“Yeah. I really like fabrics.”
According to him it started with a scarf. He bought a scarf in Peru and really enjoyed the experience. Now everywhere he goes he likes to get something made with local cloth, I guess the suits didn’t count, and that’s how we ended up here, Mekong Quilts.
Very cool place. Lots of cool quilts. It’s a shame the quilts were too big to take home. We were in there for a long time. You should have seen Joe come alive when he got around all those local materials. His eyes lit up and he couldn’t sit still. He did laps around the store just touching those fabrics. You could tell the women who worked there were excited that he was excited. He bought a bunch of shit. He wasn’t kidding. The dude is into textiles.
- Social insurance
- Be active in social insurance. Health insurance to ensure life for yourself, family and society
- Trusted friend of the worker
In the evening we went to a restaurant called Secret Garden located up four flights of stairs at the end of an alley. Guess who picked it.
It was a swank rooftop garden set up and it was packed. We sat at a communal table next to an older Dutch couple and two American kids from New York. They had been to Bali and had also grossly underestimated a scooter ride. What they thought was going to be 5 hours turned into 11! Idiots. We were wary of them at first, but they turned out to be pretty nice and the Dutch couple was the sweetest. We even managed to take a picture of the food!
So what if we’d already eaten most of it. The point is we remembered. After dinner we went by some more of Saigon’s impressive architecture.
Before ending up in Little Tokyo, a cool little district with narrow streets packed with Japanese shops and bars. It was here that we found what we were looking for. Massage parlors. Nah I’m just kidding, it was darts.
Oh did you think we were kidding about that? We were not. For a little context, Joe and I used to throw in a dart league in Los Angeles and Joe still plays league darts in New York. We’ve had a pretty good rivalry going since the beginning of our friendship. This is one of our favorite things to do. We consider ourselves darts ambassadors (not kidding), so we like to see and meet people of all stripes who are enthusiastic about the sport. We played 20 games. 12 games of 501, 1 game of 301 and 7 games of cricket. We ended up tied 10 games to 10. I might not have mentioned it at the time because I might have been upset but he kicked my ass in Da Nang so this was a fine result as far as I’m concerned.
Tired and pleased with ourselves, we made our way back to the hotel. We talked about potentially playing more darts in Hong Kong, but that’s probably not going to happen…
We have one more night in Vietnam. I’ll let you know how it goes.