Michelle and I moved on from teaching English, traveling for a month before our next volunteer position, but have not yet finished describing our adventures from our time in Hanoi. This is one of those.
As previously mentioned, we were driven to many of the English classes we taught on the back of a motorbike. On the way to the school where I taught I saw a place that had many planes with in its fenced-in enclosure, including the wreckage of a US Navy F4 fighter jet. Each day that I passed by I would crane my neck for a better look beyond the gates. After a few weeks of this I realized that I was looking at the Vietnamese People’s Air Force Museum and went for a visit.
Any visit to a museum in Vietnam is sure to be filled with varied emotions for me. After learning about the Vietnam War (called the American War or the Resistance War against America in Vietnam) in America in limited fashion and taught with an American bias it’s quite interesting to see things from the Vietnamese perspective. But, it can also be difficult to see glorified accounts of killing and imprisoning Americans. Somewhat frequently Michelle and I discuss how difficult it is to judge the decision by the American government to go to war in Vietnam from our modern times, without the constant fear of communism and nuclear war that existed back then. Anyhoo, with my mixed feelings aside, the visit to the Air Force museum was a much closer look at Russian military hardware than I ever previously expected I would encounter.
I went to the museum on a weekday afternoon and there were only a handful of other visitors to be seen… I thought that right up until I ran into a group of Vietnamese school children on a field trip as they were descending the steps of a cargo helicopter. Based on our experience so far, Vietnamese children and really cute and really eager to say hi to visitors. Many speak English pretty well, but all know the word “Hello”. In the case of the kids on the field trip they knew a lot of English and were excited to say hello to me. I’m usually not one to ignore kids (6 years working in a science museum embedded in me a need to acknowledge them and say hi) so I said hi and asked them about their day. All except for one were having a great time (he promptly told me it was too hot) and I couldn’t resist asking them if they wanted to take a picture with me. Their response was a resounding yes.
Check out the rest of the pictures from the Vietnamese People’s Air Force Museum here: