Personal history lesson

One of the really great benefits of this job is the opportunity to learn about the host country’s history and society from a different angle. This week the Consulate sponsored an historical tour of what used to be the presidential palace of the government of South Vietnam. It’s now a museum.

The tour was led by a professor of history at one of the local universities. The republican period is his area of specialization, and so he has an incredible body of knowledge about that period of history. For a history nerd like me, it was a treat to get a tour from an expert.

The room where the President received ambassadors. I think of it as “The Room of the Impossible Chairs.”

I feel like we got a much more rich experience than if we had taken a “regular” tour from one of the museum’s guides. The professor was glib and unfiltered in his assessment both of that period of time, and the way it is currently presented by the government. It was refreshing to hear a more objective viewpoint.

The Consulate is down the street and on the left.

Best of all, because not a lot of people wanted to get up early on a Saturday morning to take the tour, we got an almost personal tour.

My (in)famous “I-am-paying-complete-attention-to-you” pose.

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