Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Viet Nam

Our last country to visit was Viet Nam.  I was looking forward to this one the most.

We got to stay in several cities, including Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Hue, Halong Bay, and Hanoi.  I liked Ho Chi Minh City the best, where we got to walk around a lot and see the bustling city.  We were surprised at how prosperous Viet Nam was compared to the other countries we'd been visiting.

Ho Chi Minh City used to be called Saigon during the Vietnam War and before.  We got to see the place where the last helicopter left at the end of the Vietnam War where it was ferrying out people fleeing the advance of the the Communist forces.  Viet Nam is still communist today, but has a mostly fee market economy.  Although the government owns everything still and there isn't a lot of political freedom.  And they dictate how may children you can have.

One of the highlight for me was touring the Cu Chi Tunnels where the Viet Cong lived and fought against the Americans.  They had a massive network of tunnels they lived and hid in and fought from.

This is how small the typical entrances were.  They were well hidden.

Also riddled with bobbie traps.

After leaving Ho Chi Minh City we flew to Da Nang, where the American's had a large base, and took a bus to Hoi An.  We saw China Beach were the TV series was based upon.

Took a boat ride on the Thu Bon River to Carpenter's Island Village.  We saw fishermen casting their nets.

I even got to try it.

And Jacquelyn got to try her hand at cooking lessons at the Tra Que organic village.  That evening we rented bicycles and road out to Cua Dai Beach by ourselves.  It was a lot of fun although a little scary riding bikes along the crowded street.  At the beach we went for a long walk and I really enjoyed it.

Happy Buddhas in Hue, the ancient capital of Viet Nam.

Dragon bridge.

We took a tour of the Citadel Walled City including the Palace City and Forbidden City, modeled after the one in China.  We stayed behind to see more of it on our own because the tour group only stayed a short while.  Then we had to walk back to the hotel and got lot.  A lady said she would show us the way and took us to a boat.  I refused to get on.  We went back and eventually found our way back by finding and crossing the Dragon Bridge.

Went on a boat ride in Hue up the Perfume River.

Visited Thien Mu Pagoda and Tu Doc Tomb.  Then we had a vegetarian lunch provided by Buddha nuns of the Dong Thien Pagoda.

Jacquelyn with some of the nuns.  A female monk in Buddhism is called a nun.

Bonsai garden.  We saw several of these at different times on our tour.

Stairs leading up to the Khai Dinh Tomb.

It was very beautiful up there at the top.

At halong Bay there are these unbelievable islands rising up out of the ocean.  We were on a ferry that toured around them for a scenic afternoon.

At one of the islands we went in a beautiful can all illuminated with colorful lighting.

In Hanoi we visited the tomb of Ho Chi Minh himself.  We saw his embalmed body on display in a glass coffin.  He is the national hero of the county.

School children in line to go see the tomb and body of Ho Chi Minh.

At a museum they had replicas of the different types of homes various ethnic groups in Viet Nam built.   If you look carefully you can see the colorful oriental pants Jacquelyn has on, decorated with elephants no less.

The entrance to this communal family home had two ramps.  The wider ramp was for women and the narrower ramp was for men.

We got to take a tour of the infamous Hanoi Hilton were the Vietnamese kept American POWs.  It was actually origonally built by the French to terrorize the Vietnamese.

It even had a guillotine.  They made it seem like the American POWs were well treated and it was more like a hotel, hence the nick name.  But we know from historical reports they not treated so well.

A fun thing in Hanoi was to see a water puppet show.

Traffic cop on a corner directing traffic.

On our last day we went to the Thay Pagoda.  This woman coming to worship proudly showed us her black teeth, which they think is quite becoming, and comes from chewing the betel nuts, which are mood enhancing psychoactive and is common is large parts of Asia.

Statue inside the Thay Pagoda.  Not sure how statues like this promote spirituality.

This is our tour guild in Viet Nam, showing us a chicken for sale at the market.

Finiahed up at the So Village were we saw a typical family at meal.

That was the end of Viet Nam.  We saw a lot.

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