Friday, November 11, 2005

Work in Progress

Am continuing to add photos to the site, moving things around, and amending or adding to text. If you like a photo, double-click on it and it should get bigger

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Last Night in Hue, Hue Airport

The flight from Hue to Hanoi was a late one, so we had lots of time to walk around Hue town. Not such a special place, but it gave me time to screw around with the digital camera, taking photos after dark.

Motorbikes in the dark

What's the Hue Airport like? Like a school classroom/cafeteria. You could watch Tom and Jerry cartoons on the large screen tv, or you could clear security and hang out by the gate.

Hanoi: Ho Chi Minh Area

Ho Chi Minh is revered by most Vietnamese. In Hanoi, there is a " Ho Chi Minh area " that consists of the mausoleum, the Governor General's house, the Stilt House, and the Ho Chi Minh Museum.

Behind me, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. We missed seeing him because his embalmed body was being freshened up in Moscow.

Across a garden, the Soviet-designed Ho Chi Minh Museum can be seen.

Inside the Ho Chi Minh Museum, some less-than-crisp military guys walk up the stairs. The museum was a mix of interesting detail of the man's life, and the expected propaganda.

Me and Ho, at Ho Chi Minh Museum.

When the French left, Ho was made the President of Vietnam. But he refused to move into the Governor-General's house ( above ), saying that he did not want to live in luxury when the majority of Vietnamese lived so badly.

They built a relatively spartan " Stilt House " for Ho, near the Governor-General's house. Not exactly prison conditions, but a good symbol of spare living by the ruler. Above, his office.

Leaving the stilt house. Many foreigners and Vietnamese visit this place.

Hanoi: Miscellaneous Photos

A statue of Lenin, across from the Military Museum and the Citadel. We passed it several times, but I saw exactly noone other than myself on the bleak concrete area around the statue.

We were told that there are now only three Lenin statues in the world, and this is one of them. Where are the other two?

The Hanoi Citadel.

Next to the Citadel is the Military Museum. It had a very detailed, dramatic mockup of the Dien Bien Phu, which did not translate into photgraphs. Much of the other stuff was shrill triumphalist propaganda against the Americans. There was enough of that stuff in the War Remnants Museum in Saigon, so I will not bother to post any of those photos here.

Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first university. It was established by the Chinese in the 11th Century.

Temple of Literature

The Chinese characters on the stone tablets list all the graduates of the university. Note that they stand atop stone turtles. The turtle is an important animal in Vietnamese legend and is a symbol of Vietnamese nationalism.

Our " peace bus " outside the Temple of Literature

St Joseph's Cathedral

The group peruses menus at Cafe Moca Had a lamb curry dish here that was good...along with draft red and pilsener beers that were fresh and wonderful. By far the best beer I had in Vietnam. I came back to this restaurant on my last ( solo ) day in the country.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Hue Area: Tomb of Khai Dinh

Khai Dinh (1885-1925)was the first Vietnamese Emperor to be a " puppet " of the French. His tomb is a massive stone edifice. El called him the " King of Bling " because the altar ( not shown ) has lots of flashy gold.

Marble soldiers. They're short, because they could not be as tall as the Emperor, who was not that big himself.

We stopped at a conical-hat making place before we visited Khai Dinh's tomb. El tried this one on.

Hue Area: Tu Duc's Tomb

Down the path at the tomb of Tu Duc, last independent Emperor of Vietnam. He was a gentle and educated man, who tried to resist French power. Wikopedia says he " died cursing the French with his dying breath "

A beautiful, quiet place

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hanoi- Cyclo Ride to the Water Puppet Show

On the second to last night in Hanoi, the group took a cyclo ride to the Water Puppet Show. Cyclos are basically bicycle-powered rickshaws. They are part of the transit system in Vietnamese cities, not just a tourist thing. The passenger seat of a cyclo will fit two Vietnamese...or one Westerner.

Mr. Cyclo Driver, you are about to get an excellent workout.

All the cyclos you see here are of our group. We went from the Metropole Hotel ( Jane Fonda stayed for two weeks in 1968 ) , past the Opera House, and then on a meanderering route through the old section of town. Seeing these ancient streets in the open-seated cyclo was almost sensory overload.

A headstone firm we passed

Through crowded streets and intersections...

Scenes that could have been from centuries ago

A long cyclo ride, but a great experience.

The Water Puppet Show, played to traditional Vietnamese instruments and song, was great fun

Puppeteers take a bow