Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tombs and Martial Arts Gone Wrong

As the former Imperial capital, Hue is surrounded by famous temples and mausoleums dedicated to the most well-known emperors from the Nguyen Dynasty of Vietnam.

From K - Hue and Hoi An


While visiting Hue, we set out on an ambitious all-day tour to see 3 of the most famous tombs, and the Thien Mu Pagoda.

Our first stop was the tomb of Minh Mang, the most famous mausoleum near Hue. It was nice to be with a tour guide that spoke English because he told us some interesting facts about the tomb setting. It's laid out to represent the King's body, with pillars for arms to represent the strength of the monarchy.

From K - Hue and Hoi An


The color yellow is used to represent the King, so the building that lies above his grave has a yellow roof. The Mandarin guard that served the King is represented by the color red.

From K - Hue and Hoi An


From K - Hue and Hoi An


My favorite tomb was the second one we visited - the tomb of Khai Dinh. Khai Dinh was not a popular guy during his rule of Vietnam from 1916-1925. He had expensive Western taste, and the Vietnamese people resented the fact that he went to lead a life of luxury in France at the same time his country was being exploited by the French colonists. He was a puppet king and accomplished very little during his reign. However, his tomb is an impressive blend of Eastern and Western architechture, perched on a hill outside Hue.

From K - Hue and Hoi An


From K - Hue and Hoi An


From K - Hue and Hoi An


His actual grave lies somewhere beneath this opulent throne room:

From K - Hue and Hoi An


There were many Vietnamese tourists at all the sights we visited.

From K - Hue and Hoi An


From K - Hue and Hoi An


Our next stop was a brief martial arts performance. On organized tours they bus you around and take you to places run by their friends and you're never really sure if you're seeing something authentic or not. Most of our tour group were Vietnamese tourists, and they seeemed to enjoy the martial arts show. It was particularly exciting when a girl doing a routine with a double-edged sword lost her grip and the sword went flying into the audience, hitting a girl in the foot. She was okay and after bandaging her foot, the martial arts show went on (another one of the many things we've experienced that could never happen at home).

From K - Hue and Hoi An


From K - Hue and Hoi An


In the foreground: the girl who dropped the sword. Wouldn't want to mess with her. At least the weapon was a dull one, just for show.

From K - Hue and Hoi An

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