Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Visit The Cu Chi Gift Shop

Scorpion and Cobra Liquor
Originally uploaded by yellojkt.
One aspect of modern capitalist society that the Vietnamese Army has successfully emulated is the tourist attraction gift shop. As the Cu Chi tour ends, there is a long row of open air stalls selling souvenirs. The items for sale include all sorts of gear with the yellow star and red background, just in case you forgot who won the war. The tire tread sandals were tempting, although I’m sure they are no longer getting the tires from destroyed US trucks.

A large number of items appealed to the sense of machismo, like the cobra and scorpion liquor. Our guide mentioned to drink it while still in Vietnam if we wanted some because the chance of getting it through customs might be slim. They did offer free samples and it made Italian grappa and Kentucky moonshine taste smooth in comparison.

There was also a large (12 foot or longer) stuffed crocodile that you could pose with. You could get your picture either with or without the company of the very attractive lady in native garb at the booth. I kept getting a mental image of large groups of Japanese or Chinese businessmen on vacation trying to pass off the croc as something they killed while on safari.

I think the Communists may have won the war, but good old fashion marketing is winning the hearts and minds.

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