Vietnam’s Museum of War Remnants

Flag flying war memorials litter the center of Ho Chi Minh City, which is what the Vietnamese renamed Saigon after the American War. Most of these memorials feature captured American war materiel, such as intact helicopters, jet fighters, tanks and artillery pieces. You’ll run across them in parks, in the front yards of the aforementioned government buildings, and, of course, at the war museum sites.

The most visited tourist site in the city is the War Remnants Museum. The Museum used to be called the Museum of American War Atrocities.

Hue Imperial City and Citadel, Hue, Vietnam

hue citadel dragon on roof

The Citadel, built by the Vietnamese emperors in the early 19th Century, was severely damaged in Vietnam’s two wars of the 20th Century. In 1947 against the French, and again in 1968 against the Americans, the center of Hue was the site of ferocious battles. The citadel area once held over 140 buildings. Only about 20 remain after extensive restoration since the 1990s. Most buildings were completely destroyed in the fighting and cannot be restored.

The Two Most Important Things About Chiang Mai

For those who have never had a Thai massage, you’re in for something different. In contrast to the soothing, along-the-line-of-the-muscle Swedish style prevalent in the US, the Thais believe that they should rub hard across the grain of the muscle. This has the effect of stretching your connective tissues, such as tendons and ligaments, in directions they’ve probably never been in before. Honestly, it hurts. But, after it’s over, you’ll ask yourself why the hell haven’t I been doing this all my life?

Cruising the Bosphorus

It may be a bit of an oversimplification, but you could probably say that Istanbul exists because of the Bosphorus. It was the first thing I wanted to see when we got there. We dropped our bags at the Empress Zoe hotel, and headed right out. We were only a few blocks away, and so our first impressions of Istanbul were those of the strong current flowing from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, the ships lined up waiting for their pilots to take them through the strait, and the lines of fishermen with their lines in dark water.

Fantastic Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia, In a word: fantastic. In the literal sense. It’s a fantasy land, both in terms of history and landscape. The region is a network of small towns that have one thing in common: the weird geology of the region lent itself over the ages to people digging caves to live in. And so they did.

And, if you look at a map, and know a little of the history of the Christian church, you’ll see that this area also lent itself to becoming a true cradle for the infant church–a cradle which sheltered Christians in these caves for up to fifteen centuries.

Ancient Battlefields of Turkey

We’re about five hours into a seven-hour Turkish bus ride from Canakkale (near Gallipoli) to Selcuk (near Ephesus) so I’m being dry roasted by the bus’s heating system and a bit distracted by the ignored prohibition against cell phone use. Only three people are talking loudly now, so it’s actually a bit better than before. And, it’s a bit bumpy as we wend our way around the road construction. So, I don’t know if this is going to work, but it’s too dark to read, and the bus interior reading lights don’t work, so I thought I’d try. The light of the computer screen, you know.