The end of Vietnam

Saturday, February 28, 2015
Hanoi, Vietnam
Today we were treated to an experience that many Vietnamese do regularly. I wouldn't. We went to the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. We were warned on the bus that you can't take in cameras, hats, or water or anything. No hands in pockets. No one told us we couldn't wear sunglasses either. A long queue, which at least moved constantly. Through airport style security. Bags scanned, they refused to scan the satnav. Go through the body scanner, which shows more red lights than a traffic junction, but no attention is taken. Line up in two's. Don't talk. Keep moving. Take off your sunglasses. Then eventually you get into the room where the the body is. Mostly covered except for the face and hands. Keep moving. Past the guards in their shiny white uniforms, one of whom was yawning his head off. And then you are back out in the sun again. 
So we made our way to his house, a simple affair, and then to his second house, another 2 roomed affair . Apparently he didn't expect wealth and riches to accompany his power. My question as to whether the current communist party officials lived as simply has still not been answered. 
After that we saw the one pillar pagoda which was built in the 11th century but restored last year, so doesn't look old. That's the trouble with not letting things fall apart.
Then to the temple of literature which was built in the 11th century in honour of Confucius. Not quite sure what to say.
Then to the history museum. Most of the team wandered round, but I wanted to see the section on the American War. However that was in another building, across the road. After all we've been told about the bad Americans I was a little surprised that more wasn't made of this section. And when we found it, I was quite disappointed, but not exactly surprised. It started off with loads of photos, many of which were very indistinct, and could have been of anything. Then some exhibits, such as a movie camera made in Hanoi in the 1960's, and a diesel engine produced in North Vietnam ,but without any relevance . And the rifle barrel which belonged to someone. All very unclear. Then onto the real meat, which included handcuffs used by the puppet police in South vietnam. And photos of striking workers protesting that the imperialist Americans wouldn't pay the factory workers a living wage. And the Buddhist monk who self immolated in protest against the Americans restricting the Buddhist religion. So a lot of it was obviously jingoistic, but then I'm sure that a lot of what we saw was also one sided and could have been mis reported.
So what have I learned? Don't believe anyone or anything.
Wandered round the old sector, then went to the water puppets. These were started by the farmers in the irrigation ditches providing entertainment for the rest of the village. Something totally different, very refreshing and most enjoyable.
Supper and early bed as we have another early start tomorrow.
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I just know your comment (or lack of it) about Confucius was supreme irony. Your getting there my boy. Would be interested in picture of water puppets. And what was that about history being written by the victors?