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I preferred our visit to Hanoi over Saigon, it had a charm which owes a lot to it's French history and unlike Saigon, much of it remained.  Wide boulevards, gracious buildings, a little, ok, a lot the worse for wear but soon to be refurbished no doubt.   I found the black stained walls quite off putting at first but quickly became accustomed to them

Museum of Fine Arts

Housed in the former French Ministry of Information it had a air of propaganda about it, lots of heroic revolutionaries waving red flags,  children bearing arms and the inescapable tanks and weapons.  The second floor had some interesting traditional pieces such as the sage in the corridor and a very dusty Quan An, Goddess of Compassion and Mercy sitting under layers of dust

Out And About In Hanoi

  Party on a cyclo thumbs up                     

Girl passengers on bicycles ride side saddle even when not wearing their tradition Ao dai no helmets either

Troops exercising in Lenin Park in front of one of the few statues of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, alias Lenin left in the world

Square Bashing Viet Style

The Young Recruit


Temple of Literature

Was founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius. Seven years later The School of The Elite of the Nation, Vietnams first university was established to educate the sons of Mandarins  From 1442 it accepted gifted scholars from all over the country to study Confucianism, poetry and literature

The stelae resting on the backs of turtles record the names, places of birth and achievements of the scholars who passed the highest level 'Imperial Exams'

Eighty two of one hundred and sixteen stelae remain standing

Students still pray here for good grades and have their graduation photos taken in the formal gardens

One Pillar Pagoda

Ly Thai Tong the childless Emperor dreamt one night that the Goddess of Mercy had come to him in his sleep and handed him a boy child.  He married, fathered a son and out of gratitude to Quan Am built a pagoda resting on a single pillar.   It's design resembling a lotus flower floating on a pond 


In 1954 as they left Vietnam the defeated French army destroyed it.  This is a replica

Lake of the Restored Sword, Vietnam's 'Excalibar'

Sunbeam Bridge to tiny Temple of the Jade Mound


Ho Chi MinhTomb


Independence Monument 1946

 Determined to die for the birth of the country Independence from the French

Dedicated to those who died resisting French Colonial rule

While scores of Vietnamese many of them school children lined around the block to pay their respects to Ho Chi Mhin, we few foreign visitors walked straight in.   A white uniformed honour guard escorted us past his open coffin, it was handled with great solemnity

A Night On The Town

The Chu Teu (narrator )                  

Than Long Water Puppets  founded 1994
Harvest Festival when graduating students return to their villages
  Taking A Bow  - This is the only time we saw the puppeteers

Water puppetry has it's roots in the 11th century.   The puppeteers stand in water behind a bamboo curtain using underwater rods to manipulate the puppets

The solitary single stringed Dan Bau Musician      


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