Thursday, April 7, 2011

Viet Nam Sightseeing - 1

Hi, This will be the first of a 2 part post on the sight seeing we did in Viet Nam. I felt there are too many images to post all of them at one time.

We landed in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and spent the night. The next morning we flew to Hanoi where we spent 3 nights. After a one hour rickshaw ride through town we were picked up by our bus and taken to the site of Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum and the grounds of his final home. A photo of his mausoleum appears in the post below on people.

This is the house where he lived during the warmer months. It is very simple and open.

A small pagoda has been rebuilt on the grounds.

Our next stop was the Institute of Literature. I am not sure how it got its name as we saw nothing that would indicate any literary activities. However, it was very photogenic and this was the place where we viewed a demonstration of traditional musical instruments (see the post on people for a photo).

That evening we went to a show of water puppets. People manipulating the puppets stand in the water behind the screen behind the puppet using rods and wires to move the puppets around as well as parts of the puppets.

After the show the puppeteers came out front.

When the show was over we walked through some of the streets to reach our bus.

One stretch had a number of shops selling footwear.

The next day we took an optional trip into the countryside. We visited the home of a family that made tiles for roofing. This was definitely upper middle class.
Most, if not all, of the homes we visited had a photo of Ho Chi Minh prominently displayed.

A fairly modern and upscale kitchen is shown below.

However, even this family kept pigs.

This is the view from the balcony on the third floor. Note, there is no zoning in Viet Nam.

One of the bedrooms and the sitting room are shown below.

Next we visited a pagoda in a small village. This is a shrine to ancestors and the food is placed on the shrine so they will have something to eat.

After the optional tour we were on our own. We wanted to visit the "Hanoi Hilton." It turned out to be a major propaganda instrument. The visit began with an explanation that the prison was built by the the French in the 1880's to house Viet Namese fighting for independence. They set up displays showing the harsh treatment the prisoners received.

The tour then went on to explain how the prison was used during the Viet Nam war to house captured American pilots and to claim that American POWs were well treated; so well treated in fact that the prisoners did not want to return to the US. Yet they had this display of a single US airman in a cell. Although I could not show it, his feet are held to the floor like those of the Vietnamese prisoners in the picture 2 above this. I could not help but wonder what the young Vietnamese people passing through the exhibit thought.

The did leave in place, without explanation, the hook they used to hang US airmen when they were interrogating them. We knew about it before we went to the prison from our guide.

The next day we drove to Halong Bay. If there was one day we wanted sun this was it. Unfortunately nature did not cooperate. We boarded a junk and headed out; returning the next morning.

Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is impressive in the gloom. It must be absolutely gorgeous in sunlight.

I'm not sure what purpose the sails serve. It may be to keep the junks from swinging on their anchors. Just a guess.

One of the rock formation appears to be the profile of a person.

Part 2 will be a little longer. Hope you enjoyed these.

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