24 November 2008

Bac Ho

On Saturday we made our way over to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex. Ho Chi Minh is not the real name of the former leader but means Bringer of Light in Vietnamese. His real name is Nguyen Tat Thanh but is more affectionatly known as Bac Ho, Uncle Ho to you and me.

Despite the fact that Bac Ho had requested he was cremated, his body, like many other communist leaders is now on display. This is a place of great importance and pilgrimage for many Vietnamese and is absolutely crawling with military personel.

Unfortunately for us the actual Mausoleum is closed during the months of September to December because Uncle Ho has to go to Russia for maintenance! Whilst we were there we also got to see the Presidential Palace and the old Vietnamese stilt house where Uncle Ho used to live.
We also made a visit to the Temple of Literature, which is the site of Vietnam's first University founded in the 11th century to educate the Mandarins. It's a really beautiful collection of traditional Vietnamese buildings.

As we made our way back into the Old Quarter we stumbled across the rather strange museum that is the Army Museum. It's displays seemed to mainly consist of bits of American hardware that had been shot by the Viet Cong!

We finished the day at a fantastic tapas restaurant called La Salsa. We've promised ourselves that we'll go back there when we return to Hanoi at the end of the week.

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