We left Bai Xep in the early hours of the morning for a journey up the coast of Vietnam. The day was broken up with a few stops that are absolutely worth noting. About halfway along the journey, we stopped at My Lai and the memorial museum in this quiet, pensive part of the country. This well known village in southern Vietnam is devastatingly famous, as it’s the site of the My Lai Massacre in 1968 where around 500 unarmed civilian villagers including entire families were slaughtered by American soldiers, and has been described as “the most shocking episode of the Vietnam War”. We watched a short documentary explaining the events of the massacre, and to better understand what had happened on that tragic day. I won’t go into the details of the massacre, but it was far too barbaric for words, and without reason or rationale I was shocked into silence at the brutality of humans. Trying to understand the mentality of the Americans was complicated, and later we tried to desperately figure out what could have caused their behaviour but there will never really be an answer. Following the film, we went to the museum area to visualise the event, and see important pieces of evidence and items from the village. Much like the War Remnants Museum, there was a lot to take in, and as the entire situation can be analysed it becomes very complex. I felt at this point I could not read or learn any more, so chose to take in the severity and gravitas of what I already knew, and look just at the photographs that so vividly show the event.
We were up early to catch our fancy bus from Phnom Penh (thank God I’m not typing that again, I can’t spell it at all) to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) formally known as Saigon. It was the usual long bus ride, filled with the familiar manic driving that we were becoming used to in SE Asia. Once at the border we quite simply waltzed our way through the disorganised and unofficial customs where the security guard was quite happily having a little nap! Once finally into the crazy city, the pouring rain left us feeling a little disoriented and lost, but we soon found our way to our wonderfully cheap hostel after battling the streets with seemingly millions of motorcyclists rushing in every direction. A relaxed evening was spent attempting to find a market and instead finding a supermarket and getting confused, so we headed in for an early night before a day of sightseeing to follow.