Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hanoi Sojourn

Vietnam was not on our travel radar after our first trip to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in the 1990's. During a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels, our guide laughed when I almost stepped in a “Tiger Trap.” In those days most of the tours included a compulsory visit to the “Museum of Imperialist Aggression and American War Crimes.”

We reluctantly returned to Vietnam in March to experience Hanoi and are very glad we did. Everywhere we went we received a warm welcome! Vietnam is modernizing at a dramatic pace. Even with all the development you can glimpse a fascinating world of East and West with the occasional touch of their French colonial past.

Street merchants ply their wares in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Their ubiquitous cone shaped hats, called Non La, are still seen everywhere.

Our line for Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum was over a half mile long.

The communist flag flies at the entrance to the 11th century Temple of Literature which is dedicated to Confucius scholars.

A teacher asked us to be in a picture with his young students after their ceremony in the temple.

A dragon sits regally on a temple roof of fish scale styled tiles.

The overcast skies created a backdrop for ancient buildings.

Visitors queue up on the Huc Bridge to the Ngoc Son Temple on Hoan Kiem Lake.

The owner of a meat market in the Old Quarter found a resourceful way to get pigs to his store.

I took this picture just as the wedding couple stopped in the street. There was wedding photography all over town. It is common to show your completed album to the guests at the reception.

A wonderful trip is definitely enhanced by staying at a great hotel! The historical Hotel Metropole was amazing and definitely worth the buzz in travel mags! I would rank it among my favorite hotels in the world! The bathroom featured an antique styled tub placed next to a wall of swirling tiles.

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