Slept in Until 6.30am
7th Nov 2018
But that was because I was up earlier writing Day 2
This was to be the big day.
When we paid our respects to Ho Chi Minh.
So we had a bite to eat and a cup of coffee and set off.
Its cooler and the breeze seems stronger in the early morning.
Passing the Catholic Church before hitting the dual and wide tree lined
causeway that leads to the enormous square and Mausoleum standing alone and guarded by soldiers in white uniforms, the building was in the stark Soviet style, everything Ho stood against.
Pomp and Ceremony, something I thought Communists frowned upon.
What made it more real were the mostly elderly Vietnamese sitting on the kerb side on the opposite side of the square in contemplation of this man, the nations development and their lot in it.
For good or bad and there are signs of both.
I took off my sun hat and we gingerly walked toward the closed entrance and stood with clenched fist and saluted Ho while Rene took the photo.
That was for keeps sake !
Infront of the Mausoleum and parade ground is a large uncut grass area divided into squares where people were doing their morning exercises watched on by state police.
Keep off the grass in Vietnamese?
Adjacent to the site is the Presidential Palace and all around Government offices and mansion houses for the elite.
It reminded me of Vietnams big black hole.
“Some animals are more equal than others”
for I tell you the class differences stands out a mile and unashamedly open.
I have yet to learn about the welfare state here and how far it reaches but dentists shops stand side by side with expensive clothes shops and hovels.
I know that because I have a loose tooth and Rene tried to persuade me to have it extracted.
How much I asked, 50,000 dong, she said putting on her Kildare white coat.
Its very loose I said so she lowered the price to 30,000 dong or £1.
Being the coward that I am in the dental dept.
I said I would think about coming back tomorrow.
On the way home we stopped at the irresistible Chau Long market and bought Tiger Prawns, Eggs, Rolls and Caramel Custards in pots.
I had the boiled eggs and rolls when we got home, showered and bed again until 13.30 when we hastily set off in search of a Tourist Office that sounded Government like.
On the way we met a young Australian/Vietnamese girl and we got talking.
Unk is a Restaurant Manageress here and in Australia.
She is visiting her family and is married.
She explained the Tourist Office was a private one selling tickets etc..
THERE IS NO TOURIST BOARD HERE AND THE STATE OWNED BUS ROUTES ARE DESIGNED NOT FOR TOURISTS, SO I DON’T KNOW WHERE I AM GOING, IS ALL AROUND THE TOURIST FACES.
Go by Taxi said Unk but we are walkers and like the polluted air and the closeness to the people.
We went on our way and came across the famous LONG BIEN bridge across the Red River the Yanks blew up in the day and the Viets repaired at night.
Luckily there was a train about to cross so I got some great photos.
Its a long rail bridge with pedestrian and motorcycle tracks on either side.
Its a rusting hulk of fine 19C engineering.
We then walked home but I do have to tell you a story about our hunt for Pepper.
Not even the Supermarket had Pepper or the corner shop but we persevered.
We came across a food shop that looked promising.
I asked for Tieu which is Pepper- Tieu mat dat den is the translation on Google but the girl in shop said “no have” but there amonst the little bottles of herbs was this bottle of Tieu.
White Ground Pepper but still only half ground. She charged us 48000 dong ( 30,000 = £1 )
And so we had pepper added to our Spicy Prawn and Lemon Grass Soup which we are so fond of as a snack.
Back to bed because I ached all over from the excursion until 7pm when I prepared the itinery for tomorrow while Rene prepared the evening meal.
Tilapia fish poached with Egg Fried Rice and Coconut Sauce.
Followed by the last of the cheese we had brought with us and cheese biscuits after the Caramel Creams all washed down with some of the most revolting wine I have had the misfortune to buy.
SO BE WARNED – VIET WINE IS WEAK AND ONLY JUST RED.
What I mean to say is that if this was used in that Catholic Church up the road then Christ would have needed a blood transfusion.
Vang Dalat Classic from the Ladora Winery at £4 a bottle is an insult
to any successful red revolution.
The Cardinal Grapes and Mulberry Fruits don’t make it wine.
And tomorrow we are heading for Red Apron Wine and the Cheese section of the Oasis Grocery Shop for the best on holiday will only do !
We then go to the Camera and Photo Shop to make prints from Memory card, if possible. and on to two Museums next to each other.
The History and Revolutionary. Open at 8 -12 and
1.30 – 5 and costs 40,000 for adults and 20,000 for students.
Nothing about the retired, disabled or war vets of which there are many here.
Some walk about in the road in pyjamas.
Some assisted, other with sticks.
I so much wanted to ask them about their part in the Yanks downfall, but we might get more on that when we visit the Prison the Yanks called Hanoi Hotel as McCain and many more who were incarcerated there,reminded us.
As prisoners of war, invading and interferring in the affairs of another Country
having been shot down and who kiled, maimed and poisoned with
impunity, I say release was too generous.
But I am being cynical because I don’t like Trump and his cronies and I want Britain to be Independent of, not occupied by, the Americal influence,
just as Vietnam is in danger of becoming.