June 2009 Archives

Vietnam Photos - Small Delights

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(click to enlarge) Dragons in a Hanoi temple.

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(click to enlarge) Water puppets - a favorite form of entertainment.

Vietnam Photos - Prison Museum

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The prison museum in Hanoi has some startling exhibits, mainly testifying to French oppression of the Vietnamese. We see a lifelike display of shackled prisoners, and a ready-to-use guillotine.

Vietnam Photos - Viewing Ho Chi Minh

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People wait to enter the grounds of the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum to view the embalmed body of the former leader. According to Wikipedia:

"In his will, Ho Chi Minh stated his wish to be cremated and to have his ashes scattered in the hills of north, central, and southern Việt Nam. He said that he preferred cremation because it would be "more hygienic than burial and would also save land for agricultural purposes". By building this mausoleum, the succeeding Communist government violated Ho's wishes. Ho Chi Minh's body is preserved in the cooled, central hall of the mausoleum. There is a military honor guard. The body lies in a glass case with dim lights."

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(click to enlarge) Our tour visited a pottery village near Hanoi. Women painted teapots ...

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(click to enlarge) ... while our driver (the man on the far right) played Chinese chess with friends.

Vietnam Photos - Hanoi Lake

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In Hanoi we stayed at a hotel near Hoan Kiem Lake. According to Wikipedia:

"Hoan Kiem Lake ... "Lake of the Returned Sword" or "Lake of the Restored Sword" ... is one of the major scenic spots in the city and serves as a focal point for its public life. According to the legend, emperor Le Loi handed a magic sword called Heaven's Will, which brought him victory in his revolt against the Chinese Ming Dynasty, back to the Golden Turtle God ... in the lake and hence gave it its present name.... The Tortoise Tower ... standing on a small island near the center of lake is linked to the legend."

Early in the morning many people do tai chi and other exercises by the lake.

Vietnam Photos - Hanoi Walls

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Walls in Hanoi, along with the things in front of them, are often strikingly attractive.

Vietnam Photos - Hanoi Streetlife

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Life on the side-streets of Hanoi was particularly colorful.

Vietnam Photos - Hanoi Street Scenes

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(click to enlarge) The streets of Hanoi are busy and crowded with people living much of their lives in public.

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(click to enlarge) Nestled in a tree growing out of a busy sidewalk, a little shrine.


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Vietnam Photos - Fishing Boats in Ha Long Bay

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About 1600 people live in floating houses in fishing villages in Ha Long Bay. They both catch fish and raise them.

Vietnam Photos - Ha Long Bay

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(click to enlarge) Surprise Cave with artificial light.

From Wikipedia:

"The bay consists of a dense cluster of 1,969 limestone monolithic islands, each topped with thick jungle vegetation, which rise spectacularly from the ocean. Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves.

Ha Long Bay was first listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, in recognition of its outstanding, universal aesthetic value. In 2000 the World Heritage Committee additionally recognized Ha Long Bay for its outstanding geological and geomorphological value, and its World Heritage Listing was updated. ...The New Open World Foundation has included Halong Bay on its list for nomination as one the World's 7 Natural Wonders."

Vietnam Photos - Rice Fields (2)

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Two more photos of the rice fields on the way from Hanoi to Halong Bay.

Vietnam Photos - Rice Fields

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We flew from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. Driving east from Hanoi toward Halong Bay, we passed these rice fields.

Vietnam Photos - Saigon Celebrations

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(click to enlarge) Motorbike in front of a gaily painted wall

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(click to enlarge) Saigon wedding reception, in a restaurant entryway just off the sidewalk opposite our hotel

Vietnam Photos - War Remnants Museum

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(click to enlarge) Sculpture and photo of American soldiers. There was an extensive exhibit of war photographs when we visited the museum

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(click to enlarge) Sculpture of a prisoner

From Wikipedia:

"The War Remnants Museum ... primarily contains exhibits relating to the American phase of the Vietnam War, and is a major tourist attraction.

Operated by the Vietnamese government, the museum was opened in September 1975 as the "The House for Displaying War Crimes of American Imperialism and the Puppet Government [of South Vietnam]." Later it was known as the Museum of American War Crimes, then as the War Crimes Museum until as recently as 1993. Its current name follows liberalization in Vietnam and the normalization of relations with the United States, but the museum does not attempt to be politically balanced..."

Vietnam Photos - Saigon Views

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(click to enlarge) A lecture/briefing room in the former Presidential Palace in Saigon, now the Hall of Reconciliation in Ho Chi Minh City.

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(click to enlarge) Construction viewed from the second floor of an art gallery in Saigon.

Vietnam Photos - Saigon Night Market (2)

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(click to enlarge) Some young women join the motorbike crowd at the Night Market in Saigon.

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(click to enlarge) Others have to tend the store.

Vietnam Photos - Saigon Night Market (2)

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At the Night Market in Saigon, you can either eat with your friends and your motorbike, or alone.

Vietnam - Saigon Night Lights

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One of the main streets in Ho Chi Minh City has beautiful night lights. The motorbikers come out in force to enjoy -- and contribute to -- the spectacle. (The central lanes are for cars, the side lanes for bikes.)

Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh City Wiring

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Somehow, things get done.

Vietnam - Saigon Market Profusion (2)

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(click to enlarge) The items in the right foreground are not bikini tops, they're face masks for motorcyclists.

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A person could get lost in all that tightly-packed stuff.

Vietnam - Saigon Market Profusion

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Ho Chi Minh City markets are notable for their profusion of goods. Not necessarily lots of significantly different things ... just lots of things, crowded into small spaces.

Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh

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(click to enlarge) Photo of Ho Chi Minh in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Post Office

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(click to enlarge) Ho sheltering a child in front of the opera house.

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(click to enlarge) Stack of Ho Chi Minh t-shirts

Ho Chi Minh seems virtually worshipped in Vietnam. He is often spoken of as "father" or "uncle", with the Vietnamese people as his children.

Vietnam - Saigon Harbor

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As we cruised into Saigon Harbor, we saw modern cargo-handling facilities... (click to enlarge)

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... and yet another bridge under construction. (click to enlarge)

Vietnam - On the Canal

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(click to enlarge) Passing the other way as we traversed the last canal before entering Saigon harbor was this cargo boat. Surprisingly, it seemed empty; but as usual it had the prow painted with the big eyes to ward off crocodiles and other evil spirits.

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(click to enlarge) We got caught in a traffic jam that stretched for several miles and lasted for several hours. Downstream there is a bridge with an opening wide enough for just one boat, which has to accommodate two-way, slowly-moving, widely-spaced traffic.

Vietnam - Coconuts

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On our journey through a canal from the Mekong River into Saigon harbor, we passed this huge coconut depot. Coconuts are used for many things around here: food, drink, rope, building material...

Vietnam - Cao Dai Temple

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In My Tho we visited a Cao Dai temple, which was strikingly clean and orderly compared to the Hindu and Buddhist temples we'd been visiting. According to Wikipedia, Cao Dai "is a relatively new, syncretist, monotheistic religion, officially established in the city of Tây Ninh, southern Vietnam, in 1926." It has only three saints: Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm (1491–1585), a Vietnamese administrator, educator, poet, sage; Victor Hugo; and Sun Yat-Sen. A somewhat strange collection, we thought.

Viet Nam - Vinh Long Market (3)

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(click to enlarge) Customers even ride their motorbikes into indoor markets.

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(click to enlarge) Comment seems superfluous.

Viet Nam = Vinh Long Department Store

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(click to enlarge) Vietnamese department stores don't seem to pay much attention to attractive displays of the merchandise.

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(click to enlarge) Nor do the clerks pretend to look busy, when they're not.


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Vietnam - Motorbike Helmets

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A law was recently passed requiring motorbike drivers and passengers to wear helmets. The only exception is for young children, and that will change soon. So there were many shops with helmets on display. The emphasis seemed to be more on style than safety. I like the lady in the conical hat sitting in the middle of the scene.

Vietnam - My Tho Market (2)

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(click to enlarge) As I wrote yesterday, the shopkeepers often seemed bored.

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(click to enlarge) This fellow had just gotten a digital camera, so he took my picture while I took his. We were all amused.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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