You might think that, somewhere in the metropolis named Ho Chi Minh City, there might be a good museum about Ho Chi Minh. But you’d be wrong. There’s a museum, alright, but in no way could it be described as “good”. A visit to the neighborhood is worthwhile, however, thanks to the delirious street of ?oàn V?n B?.
I was actually made angry by the Ho Chi Minh Museum. It’s blessed with one of the best locations in the city, in the stately former port headquarters, with an unparalleled view of downtown just across the river. And the subject matter should be fascinating! Ho Chi Minh is one of the country’s most important historical figures, the father of its independence, and his kindly, goateed visage can be seen everywhere in the city. I deliberately avoided reading up on him, because I was excited to learn about him in this museum. Big mistake.
Among the paltry exhibits are some trinkets from his life, a few grainy portraits, and Communist-speak propaganda. There’s no rhyme nor reason to the layout of the displays, and I left the museum just as ignorant about Ho Chi Minh as I had been upon entering.
Our spirits were low, when we headed back out into the city. But that wouldn’t last, because on the street of ?oàn V?n B?, low-spirits are forbidden. It’s an official ordinance. Maybe free coffee is distributed to the residents or something, I don’t know, but this street was wired. We walked up and down, chatting with residents, trying out sweets, investigating alleyways, peering into the home-shop-garages, and having an excellent time.
While it’s impossible to recommend the Ho Chi Minh Museum to even his most fervent fans, visiting the surrounding area is definitely worthwhile. Saigon has a lot of unique little corners, and this is one of best.