Semper Fi, Do Or Die, Gung Ho, Gung Ho…

My god last night was messy. Met up with some people on the rooftop bar at the hostel (the place is packed every night), having a general chit-chat and a drink, and when the bar closed at 10 we ended up going to “The Illegal Bar” just down the street to continue drinking. The call it the illegal bar because it doesn’t have a name, and the police keep trying to raid it, at which point they just close the shutters until the police wander off, and then they open it up again!

The place is tiny too, only room for maybe 10 people inside, so everyone sits on tiny seats and beer crates out on the street. The best bit about this place though is the toilets. You have to go through a little door at the back of the bar, into a flat that would be really swanky back in the UK. Honestly, its beautiful, and all pristine. So you go through, past an old lady watching TV and having a beer, to the back of the flat and just use this woman’s toilet. No-one bats an eyelid. Its surreal.

So yeah, once we got to the bar with the 5 or 6 people from the rooftop bar, we pretty much just got chatting to everyone in the place and all the groups opened up, we were playing “Never have i ever…” (definately a dangerous game when you’ve had a few) and messing around. Think i ended up wearing someone’s bike helmet for most of it. I also ended up agreeing to go to Halong Bay (despite the fact that i’d told Rhys i’d wait for him before doing it), but i just thought bugger it, i’ll just do it twice, since a load of the people there were going. Then they all went on to a club, but i was already totally hammered by this point so i staggered my way to bed.

Probably a good decision in retrospect, as i woke up this morning with borderline alcohol poisoning. Phil (the RAF bloke i went to the army museum with) came and woke me up the morning in time for the trip, and said there was space on the boat, but as soon as i got out of bed i knew there was no way i could do any travelling today. I had a cup of tea and immediately had to run to the toilet to throw up. And one of the women in my dorm told me she was seriously considering hurting me last night because i was snoring so loudly… Its taken me all morning just to feel vaguely human, so i’ve pretty much had to write the whole day off. I did speak to Ha yesterday though, and she said she’s free tomorrow and Saturday, so i probably picked a good day to do nothing really.

Anyway, on to yesterday’s trip to the Army Museum.

In short, this place was the strangest and most eclectic selection of militaria i’ve ever come across. I expected there to be at least something about the history of the army, its structure and development and so on, but there was nothing like that at all. Its literally just piles of random stuff, divided (vaguely) into rooms depending on who they happened to be fighting at the time. And a load of stuff just piled outside. The labelling is haphazard  at best, and completely missing in many cases.

A MIG-21 and a T-54 out in the car park. They also had an artillery piece which i forgot to take a pic of, and a label proudly noting that the Vietnamese nicked it off the French and then used it on them.

A sten gun captured off the French. They were in trouble already if they had to use this crap…

But then this was what the Vietnamese were working with. Amongst this motley collection of semi-medieval weaponry was a crossbow, a matchlock musket, and a sharpened stick.

A collection of early Vietnamese grenades, standardization apparently being a totally unknown concept at this stage. One of them appeared to be constructed almost entirely from wood.

Outside, an intact Huey, and in the background, a sort of sculpture (read dangerously teetering pile) of bits of aircraft they shot down, both US and French.

One of a pair of Douglas A-1 Skyraiders.

A massive turn of the (20th) century French Naval cannon.

The Gareth Nolan Home Entertainment System.

Pretty rubbish photo of an SA-2? missile. Bloody huge. This one was from a battery that supposedly downed 3 B-52s in one night.

After the outdoor excursion, we moved on to the Vietnam War era displays. This is a representative sample. Photos, random items, and an inspiring sculpture. Lovely.

A pile of flight helmets and bits of B-52 wings.

One of many cabinets containing random weaponry and items. But this one contains, in the bottom left, my favorite item in the entire museum, bar none. It is, in case the photo is not clear enough, a rock. Like many other rocks one might think. But this one, the note accompanying it helpfully explains, assisted in the capture of an American serviceman.

And finally, from the (again totally random) selection of things parked out the back, a T-34 and a MIG-17.

After all that, me and Phil left pretty much just shaking our heads in disbelief. Definately the most eccentric attraction i’ve been to so far. And sorry Mr. Nolan, though there were AKs , M-16s, and RPGs everywhere, and random weaponry as far as the eye could see, not a single M-60 in sight…


~ by zendog888 on 28/10/2010.

3 Responses to “Semper Fi, Do Or Die, Gung Ho, Gung Ho…”

  1. Seeing those pictures takes me back….

  2. Yeh i remember when we happened to see a MiG 28 do a 4g negative dive. Crazy days.

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