Good Morning, Vietnam!

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As a history teacher, I was motivated to explore  life in Vietnam before, during and after the war. The following photos reveal my daily treks to search for some meaning in the causes and effects of this twisted, unpopular, and politically driven Vietnam War. 

Living history was right before my eyes everyday!

So many historical concepts were revealed while reading and touring Vietnam:  WWII, Communism, Diplomacy, Cold War, Domino Theory, Colonization, Civil War, Guerilla warfare, US foreign policy, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon era…

We landed in Ho Chi Minh City (former Saigon) where we spent 5 nights in the beautiful Grand Hotel.

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French colonial rule can be seen in food and architecture

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The Opera House : we attended the performance- The Soul of Vietnam

IMG_3032Steamed Prawns in Coconut Juice

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The Hotel Continental is the meeting place for the characters in Graham Greene’s well written book, The Quiet American, about the French IndoChina War. (1946-1958).

Reunification Palace (name given after the War)- built by the French

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Once Vietnam was independent from French colonial rule, President Diem moved into the palace and ruled South Vietnam with the support of US. He opposed unification of the two Vietnams, hence, the name after the war: Reunification Palace.  Maybe he was corrupt and not a democratic ruler but our policy was: as long as you are anti-Communist, you are on our side.

IMG_3094Strategic planning room during the war (basement of palace)

Cu Chi Tunnels

Built by the Viet Cong (Communist troops in South Vietnam)

These tunnels were constructed by the locals as protection from the US soldiers and ARVN (South Vietnam army). They twisted for 124 miles through the jungle. Hospitals, sleeping quarters and schools could be found in this underground shelter. American soldiers continuously dropped bombs over the tunnels, killing civilians and the enemy. Tunnel rats (US soldiers) were deployed to find the tunnel activity. The openings were much smaller than pics depict (widened for tourist) and about 8-10 meters deep.

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Actual opening 

The area was surrounded by booby traps, mines…

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The enemy used our bombs to make their own weapons

After a eating a bowl of Pho (traditional Vietnam bowl of noodles, broth, and spices) and reading the history of the war,  I caught a taxi to the War Remnants Museum. Upon arriving, I regretted eating Pho (see below)

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War Remnants Museum

Pictures for all you military buffs:

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Ho Chi Minh: Leader of the Communist in Vietnam

The Mekong Delta

Site of some of the heaviest fighting in the War

The Mekong River begins in Tibet and empties in the Delta, southern Vietnam.

Great Rice Bowl of Vietnam; produces 1/2 of the countries rice

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IMG_3265 IMG_3295Yes, they have pythons in the jungle. Afterwards, I found out this snake squeezes its victim to death and since he was just fed, I was safe- very encouraging!

IMG_3287Mekong Coconut Candy Factory

Mary and I were invited to return next summer to the Mekong Valley and work in the village.

I just want to make sure all the pythons are well fed!

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1 Comment

Filed under Educating students in developing world, Teaching

One response to “Good Morning, Vietnam!

  1. What a great trip! I was startled by the python pic and need to go back and read the content again 🙂

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