While here I visited the embalmed corpse of Ho Chi Minh (the much celebrated leader who brought communism to Vietnam). It was rather spooky and we were led on a silent procession through (no stopping or photos allowed). He goes to Russia once a year for 'maintenance', even more spooky. I went to the temple of literature which was rather crowded with tourists so I did not get to enjoy the landscaped gardens too much. I had a walk around the Old Quarter with all its amazing markets selling frogs (freshly skinned for cooking), herbal remedies and strangely door handles. You cannot move around here for motorbikes and cyclos and a few times I nearly had my toes run over. I spent a good while reading a photocopied book (rip offs are to be found everywhere in Vietnam) in a lovely restaurant called the Ladybird (dinner for less that one pound!) where I came back several times. I found a swimming pool which was freezing but refreshing before the night train to Lao Cai (Chinese border) and then to Sapa rice terraces. Oh yes and the other thing, communism and Vietnam, hmmmm. Officially they have a communist government but everyone is selling mad, you could not get a more capitalist population if you tried.
I also found out that there is a lot of pressure on Vietnamese girls to look 'white' and more western. They use creams that contain bleach to whiten your skin.
|Funny tortoise cemetry stones|
|The temple of literature|
|Streetscape by the lake|
|A traditional old merchant's house, now a museum|
|A traditional old merchants house|
|A traditional toilet, though updated slightly today, the principle is still the same. Group toilets with gullies are certainly an interesting experience.|
|The old East Gate to the city walls|
A nice lamp shop
The history museum in a French and Chinese style