Thursday, July 21, 2011

Visiting Uncle Ho

A visit to northern Vietnam would be incomplete without seeing some of the historical sights relating to communism and the Vietnam War.

We started by visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, modeled after Lenin's mausoleum in Moscow. The building serves as a memorial to the Vietnamese Marxist revolutionary leader who served as PM and President of North Vietnam, and led of the Viet Minh independence movement.

From K - Halong Bay


Ho Chi Minh also approved the Tet Offensive, a gamble taken by the North Vietnamese army to defeat the South, eventually breaking the US will to fight the war. There's still a strong cult of personality surrounding Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, and people refer to him as "Uncle" or "Uncle Ho".

From K - Halong Bay


We didn't actually go inside the mausoleum - we would have been required to wear long pants and long sleeves. That may sound like a pathetic reason, but if you consider the fact that it was almost 100 degrees and very humid, the idea of bundling up to see the embalmed body of an old communist leader did not seem very appealing. Instead we wandered around the complex, observing the army marching and being stared at by the large numbers of Vietnamese and Chinese tourists.

From K - Halong Bay


From K - Halong Bay



For some reason, Dana and I are much more of an oddity in Vietnam than in Thailand or Lao. This means being asked to be in a lot of random pictures. But everyone is pretty friendly and it is mostly humorous when people ask us where we're from or surreptitiously take pictures as we walk by. One of the best things was when a man asked Dana if she knew Mr. William. We were confused until he said, "you know, Mr. Willam, from England!" and then pointed at Dana and shouted, "It's you, Kate!".

From K - Halong Bay


We also checked out the One-Pillar Pagoda, one of Vietnam's most iconic temples.

From K - Halong Bay


From K - Halong Bay

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