1/16/10: Hanoi, Vietnam
For those of you who didn’t read Kevin’s last post, this title has nothing to do with what this post is going to be about. It’s merely a statement of fact. The fact that no matter what crazy things he chooses to write on the blog, I am NOT going skydiving. I hope that’s all cleared up.
We arrived in Hanoi this morning at 6:30 after yet another overnight bus (shudder) ride. Since we were only planning on spending two days in Hanoi and wanted to use our time efficiently, we signed up for a tour with Hanoikids.
We were met at our hotel at 10am by two lovely girls from Hanoikids. First, they took us to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum.
I don’t want to ruin it for any of you who are planning on visiting the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, but… HO CHI MINH IS IN THERE! I guess this might seem obvious to you, like, why else would you visit the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum except to SEE Ho Chi Minh, but it obviously was not clear enough for me. I was expecting a closed coffin or maybe even an urn with his ashes, but nope. He’s there. Right there. He’s in a clear coffin and has somehow been kept preserved for the last 60 years. He looks like either a) he’s been sleeping peacefully and will wake up any moment and yell at the guards to let him out of that place cause, whew, that air is really rank or b) Madame Tussaud has replaced the real Ho Chi Minh with a benevolent-looking Ho Chi Minh wax likeness. Either way, very strange and a little bit creepy.
Then the girls took us to the Temple of Literature. And I don’t want to ruin it for those of you who are planning on going to the Temple of Literature, but… THERE ARE NO BOOKS IN THERE. I had imagined that it would be a big pagoda filled with lots of sacred and ancient Vietnamese tomes, sort of like the Beast’s library in Beauty and the Beast, only a bit darker and mustier and all the books would be in Vietnamese, but nope. No books! Just a big temple. Really, after the Ho Chi Minh debacle, I should have just thrown all expectations for the day out the window. Anyway, the Temple of Literature is one of the most famous Confucian temples in Vietnam. It originally served as a university, but now it serves as a place for students to come and pray for good luck in their studies.
They then took us to have lunch at one of the street markets, where we ordered noodles. With snails! Kevin ate his snails without a murmur but left the tomatoes in his bowl. I guess everyone has their limits.
Picture of the Day: Kevin is this bell’s dangle (my word)/donger (Kevin’s word).