Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hanoi, sightseeings

There aren't many sights in Hanoi and I decided to join a day trip, which pretty much has everything covered and it could save me from getting ripped off by taxi drivers. I had not expect much from the trip to begin with but I was still taken by surprise at the end because it was so lame.

Our first stop was the Temple of Literature. Founded in 1070 it was the country's first university. The names of all graduates from 1400s are inscribed on the back of the stone turtles.

One of the quiet and peaceful courtyards in the temple.

I hadn't realised Chinese characters were used in the old days in Vietnam.

The cute drum "tower".

Loved the roofs.

I wonder how old this tree is?
Highlight of the day: Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum. It's a lot smaller than Kim Il Sung's but nonetheless as creepy. It's so cold and dark inside it gave me goose bums. Somehow embalmed bodies always seem very stiff but have not a lot of weight. It doesn't seem to leave indentations on the sheets and bed at all. Strange.

A short walk away is the Presidential Palace. It's the place where our guide got caught for not buying enough entry tickets for the group. The policeman got very aggressive and the guide was hold up for 15 mins. At the end he had to pay a fine and he didn't have enough money. Drama!

A couple donated the money for the fine and we got in. Beautiful gardens but there were way too many people (you can't see them on the picture).

I found an interesting dweller on the property - an Indochinese Green Peafowl. I am guessing it's related to peacock?

Ho Chi Minh's Stilt House - the house he lived in between 1958 to 1969. Apart from the house we also got to see his office and his car, the usual humble leader gist.

After lunch we headed to some pagoda on the shore of West Lake. It was just another temple with a small pagoda. Nice but not worth the 45-min stop.

The colorful interior.

Another temple. Another 30-min stop. We were all getting positively bored.

Of course we had to end the trip at a souvenir shop. I should sum up the day in 4 words: cirque du so lame.

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