Day 3 – 12th November
We had been put in touch with a local woman, Tanya by our manager. She lives in Saigon, but is half Australian. This morning she took us out for some street food. Vietnam don’t do breakfast really, just the same food they’d eat for lunch or dinner. So we sat down in the morning on tiny seats with our knees touching our chins digging into cold noodles covered in chilli fish sauce. Its pretty damn good, but James says he is already missing his beloved Coco Pops. Rock n roll.
With half a day to kill Tanya suggested we visit the War Remnants Museum, so a short taxi ride later we are greeted by the site of old decommissioned helicopters, tanks and fucking great big bombs in the courtyard of the museum itself. Like most people I find war rather a downer. Actually, that’s a bit too flippant, I actually find it moving depressing and incredibly tragic. 90% of my knowledge of the Vietnam war is from bad muscle clad, high 5-ing Hollywood films so needless to say everything here is quite confusing as I don’t know the context. I don’t even know who the good guys or the bad guys were as with so much propaganda by both East and West and only Charlie Sheen’s Platoon film performance to go on I resign myself to just trying to make sense of it all from the short descriptions on the photos, posters and displays. By the end of the tour I think its just like most wars, i.e essentially pointless with everyone being the bad guy. The one thing I wasn’t aware of was how much Vietnamese on Vietnamese violence there was. The mock up prison cells and Tiger Cages were truly shocking. Even worse was the gallery and stories about people living with Agent Orange deformities and illnesses. The effects are still present in modern day Vietnam and it is truly heart breaking to see. There is a quote from an American veteran on one of the displays showing G.I’s torturing civilians; sadly I didn’t take a picture as so many people were crowding around so I can’t repeat it perfectly. Essentially it said: “It is amazing what you can be made to do, but you have a choice. Do what you can to try and get yourself alive through the hell and just survive…or turn into a psychotic fucker who gets through by enjoying causing suffering.”
Ok, enough of the depressing stuff.
Feeling thoroughly humbled and still exhausted from the lack of sleep and the draining heat we head back to the same venue as the night before for sound check. We are brought a menu to get a bite to eat before playing and Si and Lamont order just about everything, I really have never seen anyone eat so much in my life. Impressive if a little gross. 4 whole chickens later James and I spring onto stage with Jon and Si rolling up behind us and we play a slightly different set list to the night before but the response is just as good. One guy came up after the show and told us it was his first ever gig. Seeing that innocent love of music and unjaded attitude is just incredible….couple that with him taking us through his favourite moments of the gig by re-enacting them air guitar style and we have another great memory from the tour already.