i wasn’t sure what to expect from a visit to the Reunification Palace (aka Independence Palace aka Dinh Thống Nhất), but it’s well worth the cheap price of admission (as of this writing, 30,000 dong, or $1.44).
the palace has a very significant place in history (which you can read about on the wiki page), but what struck me is that visiting it is like being transported 40 years back in time. be sure to visit all the floors, and i’ll save some of the more mod interiors for you (this place is heaven if you’re a mod fan), but here are some pics to whet your appetite. most of them come from the basement, which is where the military side of things took place. (upstairs is much more umm, groovy?)
sidebar you can supposedly request a free tour at the information desk at the entrance to the building, but apparently the docents were all busy with the buses of schoolkids who were visiting, so no guided tour for me except for a quick run-down. (still, was very interesting on my own.) i was directed to watch a movie downstairs (there are several rooms, if you’re reading this, you’ll likely want the door marked “ENGLISH”) which was fascinating in its own right. (also, it’s well-air-conditioned, so a good respite from the heat and humidity outside.)
sadly, i don’t know much about the vietnam war but i do know the documentary was not something i would have watched back in AP American History. here are some choice (eye-opening, for me) quotes that i tweeted. definitely drop in before or after your walk-through of the building.
- “Americans have never failed before in any war.” (that is, we were expecting victory but they showed us who was boss)
- “The president betrayed his own words.”
- “The more failures the American imperialists encountered…” (the more we took it out on the citizens of Vietnam, as i recall the narrator continuing)
- “What did the US gain?” (he went silent and never answered his own question, leaving us to ponder for ourselves)
- “Many Americans self-immolated” (when talking about how unpopular the war was in the states, especially at universities)
- “[Americans were] lackeys to be eliminated.”