I’m not a big fan of museums. I think some are ok, but in general I just don’t enjoy looking at objects in glass cases. So whenever I find myself in a museum that is like that, I usually just end up walking by the glass cases and looking for the museum coffee shop. . .
There was one time, however, when I did take a look in the glass cases in a museum and was very surprised at what I saw.
The museum was in a former French hill resort in the area of what is now central Vietnam called Bà Nà Hills. While much of the site has been transformed into a kind of Disney-esque amusement park, there is a small museum of sorts in a former wine cellar that the French built there.
The French of course love their wine, and so it’s not surprising that they built a wine cellar at this hill resort. Today this is one of the only historic buildings that remains, and it has been made into a museum.
There isn’t much to see, and the people who sell you your ticket inform you that you can get a glass of wine at the cafe after you pass through the rooms of the underground wine cellar. So being more interested in wine than museums, I started walking straight towards the cafe, but and as I did so, I noticed that there were some displays in glass cases in some cavities along the walls, and for some reason I looked, and there I saw. . .
. . . Barbie!! Yes, there she was, looking a little bit dusty, but still very attractive. She was sitting in a display that was meant to give a sense of what the wine cellar was like back during the colonial period when it was part of a French hill station.
Now as far as I know, Barbie always remains loyal to one man, her boyfriend Ken. So I was a little bit confused to see her in this display with four men, none of whom looked like her clean-cut boyfriend.
What is more, there were many bottles of wine in the room.
So if this was meant to represent what life was like in this hill station in colonial times, then 1 beautiful woman + 4 men + lots of alcohol = a recipe for trouble. . .
And sure enough, another display represented precisely the kind of troubles that must have plagued this place. In this display we see one guy sitting by himself, kind of bent over as if he is drunk, with bottles on the floor around him, and another person behind him on the floor. . . passed out? Dead??
It doesn’t look good. . .
Indeed, those French colonizers. . . they were a wild bunch.
So while I’m not a big fan of museums, I certainly was happy that I stopped to look at what was in the glass cases at that museum. I learned a lot about the past that day, and I got to drink a glass of wine afterwards as well. It was a good day.