Where the Ben Nghe Channel enters the Saigon River, a bridge crosses it to an imposing mansion that was erected in the 1860s. Known as the Nha Rong, or Dragon House, this former headquarters of a French shipping company is now home to the Ho Chi Minh Museum – an apposite venue, given that it was from the abutting wharf that Ho left for Europe in 1911. Sadly, the collection within fails to capture the spirit of this man whose life was dedicated to liberating his homeland from colonialism. If you decide to visit, you’ll need to wring all the interest you can out of personal effects such as his walking stick, rattan suitcase and sandals made from tyres (there’s a pair in every HCM Museum in the land; if they were really all his, Uncle Ho was a shoe-hoarder of Imelda Marcos proportions). There’s also a map of his itinerant wanderings and a few blurred photographs of him at official receptions.
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