Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya
We rose early for a guided half day tour of Hanoi.
By now the tour was beginning to drive us a little crazy. The constant moving on and not being able to sit and appreciate things that made us both happy. This day was an example, some of the places we visited we wanted to stay longer but we were moved on to visit another place that maybe wasn't so interesting to us. We both loved Na Trang but off we went to another town. By Na Trang we knew that we had made a mistake doing a tour but it was paid for so we decided to stay on.
Plus we had made friends with some great people and of course it was an easy way to travel and see a lot of things.
On our half day mini tour we visited some of the main sites including the Temple of Literature. This temple was extremely beautiful. It was built in 1070, being an Australian that is sometimes hard to comprehend. We also headed to the One Pillar Pagoda. A stunning and peaceful place to sit for hours but of course we stayed only a short time.
A real bugger for us!
We then visited the one time random world traveler 'Uncle' Ho Chi Minh. For some reason the Vietnamese don't like to talk about his random world travels. If they do appreciate them they never talked to us about it when they talked about his life. The guy had been everywhere.
From memory he spent several decades walking around different countries and his English was fluent.
The other real strange thing to us was that his 'after death' wish was to be cremated and spread north, south, east and west. Everyone talks about how much the Vietnamese love their Uncle Ho, but what I can't understand is if they loved him and respected him so much then whey did they embalm him and put him in a glass case with lights for all the Vietnamese pilgrims to pay homage to.
To see the man as he is now you must enter an Airport type building.
Here you are x-rayed, have to hand in several belongings and have armed guards around you at all times. You then have to walk single file past him and from what I can gather, continue walking without stopping. Very strange. I can't for the life of me think of what they believe someone would try do to him. The man is dead. If they believe someone would try to shoot a dead man then put him in a bullet proof glass case instead. I'm lost for words just as I was then. I mean do they think he's gonna sit up and say, hey, stop holding hands or Hey, why are you exposing your legs!
I, um...the man is dead!
The group went its separate ways for the remainder of the afternoon. We headed to the Hoan Kiem Lake to sit and play cards in the sunshine. Here many came over to watch us play and to our surprise some of them motioned to join us. They played the same game with slightly different rules. So there we sat for hours surrounded by Vietnamese playing cards. This was something that we continued each day we spent in Hanoi.
On one occasion two police officers came over to see why the crowd was gathering.
The evening was spent at the Municipal Water Puppet Theatre. It was such a wonderful experience. I sat wide eyed and eared throughout. Anyone who visits Vietnam or Hanoi must see the water puppets.
Another daily ritual was to watch the beggars or whom we called 'scammers'. They were pretty crafty too. Some of them whom did NOT have a disability would create one. When they would see a Foreigner walking towards them they would go from walking normally to walking as if they needed a wheel chair. Others would sit and happily play with their child until a 'victim' came along and in an instant the child would be severely disable. Others sadly did have disabilities and couldn't really do much in the financial way.
It was these people whom received some of my colourful little bank notes. In Hanoi another thing you must get used to are the young children and teens with trays selling post cards, books and tee shirts. They hover in droves and attack with out mercy. When you finally get away another bunch move in even though they have just watched you say no to the others. In their trays they all carry the exact same things. There were three small paper backs, one of which was the 'Quiet American', they all had the same post cards and small nick knacks.
The girls were usually the tee shirt sellers. They also stocked the same tee shirts.
After several days being around they get to know your face and leave you alone. In fact some of them will come and sit with you and talk to you. It's a beautiful experience. Whilst playing cards and relaxing in the sunshine we became friends with several of them whom would come and sit with us and spend time without their tray of goods to sell. They would tell us their sad tales of their life and would not accept our money or food when we offered it to them.
Beers N Cheers toya...shane