So where could possibly even be MORE romantic than Bali??? How about Vietnam?! We purchased our plane tickets there with our Aeroplan points, and got to fly business class for the first time. And it was SO worth it. It actually makes flying FUN (which might also have to do with unlimited free booze). In the airport lounge they even had a free breakfast buffet! How awesome is that? While they did have some toast and similar items, they also served Pad Thai, and Congee (rice pudding – and not the good kind). By the time we landed in Vietnam I was stuffed, and slightly hungover. Good times!

Hanoi is an absolutely beautiful city. Colonized by the French, the architecture and cuisine has a decidedly French twist. Women selling pastries and baguettes on the streets are a constant feature all over town, and ornate wrought iron and mouldings are over many of the older buildings. It was a cosmopolitan city, lots of trees, great shopping, and pretty awesome museums.

My favourite was definitely the Military History Museum. The museum featured items from their ancient past, up until the present day, obviously with an emphasis on the Vietnam War. It was quite exciting and eye-opening to hear about the war from the point of view of theNorth Vietnamese. The photos of American protests to the war featured strongly…and boosted the morale of the Vietnamese to see there was so much dischord within the American public. The outdoor display of captured and shot down American planes, choppers, and artillery was really stunning. They included stats on how many aircraft were shot down by Vietnamese soldiers, which was really shocking. The most upsetting items on display

were the clothing of killed US Airmen, as well as their ID cards and personal effects. I couldn’t help but wonder if their families had any idea their son’s final effects were in a triumphant display in a Hanoi Museum. Other items included the clothing of children who had been shot and bombed by the Americans, as well as colonial French helmets, samurai swords and a variety of bicycles used in various wars. Quite fabulous overall!

While in Cambodia we had the opportunity to visit the landmine museum. We were surprised to see that this facility was founded and funded through the efforts of the Canadian government and a Canadian NGO! How exciting!
The mission of the facility is twofold:
• To establish a land mine museum in Cambodia for the purpose of providing land mine accident prevention awareness and public education.
• To provide educational facilities, programming and rehabilitation facilities for survivors of land mine injury.

The museum taught us a lot about the history of landmines, their origin, manufacture, function, and most importantly, the debilitating damage they can do to the human body. Landmines were created to maim. The logic being that an injured soldier is a lot more taxing to a war effort than a dead one. Which, I guess is true. Unfortunately, more often than not, these mines are left in the ground long after a battle – lying in wait to injure and kill civilians, their livestock, and even endangered species.

I have to admit seeing our tax dollars at work here gave me just a little twinge of pride for our little country. It probably didn’t cost a whole lot to have this modest facility, to educate the public and to help clear numerous minefields throughout the country, but this effort has made a big impact on this country and to those who have suffered injuries because of landmines. When we told locals we were from Canada, more than once they expressed their gratitude to our government for assisting in their rebuilding after years of war and conflict. That felt pretty nice.

You can get more information on this organization and how you can help here.