Rainy Reception in Ha Noi

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rewinding back to July of 2012, Ari and I were greeted by storms rolling into the North of Vietnam. So much so all the Ha Long bay tours were cancelled for the day, luckily for us we weren't booked for those trips until a few days later as we had some mountainous terrain to conquer, but first the capital.

Presidental palace in Ha Noi.

As torrential rain accompanied us on our capital city tour, we got soaked to the core while admiring a number of historical buildings, museums and artifacts. I was ungraciously denied entry into the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh as my dress was apparently too short! Can you believe that? And mind you this dress I frequently wear everywhere in Bahrain. But being the resourceful people they are in Vietnam (and quick to make a buck), I was covered up in a two dollar shawl to look more respectable whist visiting Mr. Minh.

Wardrobe disaster, at least it kind of went with my top.

Ari and Linda outside Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum. Inside was a somewhat disappointing as we were ushered through in silent, single profile, past the waxy dead (and creepy) preserved corpse of Mr. Minh.

It continued to rain for the rest of the tour as we visited the one pillar pagoda. Hopeful couples come from across the country to pray and giving offerings here because the superstition is that you will be blessed with sons. As Ari and I had no immediate requirements for the above, we didn't really get in there for a better look :) The pagoda is meant to symbolise a lotus flower emerging from the muddy waters.

One pillar pagoda.

We made our way through the first university of Ha Noi then to the Museum of Ethnology, where we learnt about all the many tribes and ethnic minorities that we would soon encounter in Sapa and then finished at Hoan Kiem lake. It was a huge day of sloshing about in the wet without umbrellas or ponchos but we survived.

A shrine to honour Confucius.

 Hoan Kiem lake where legendary fable takes place of a giant turtle giving an emperor a magic sword to win a long fought battle and then taking it back from him upon his return to thank the turtle. The turtle and sword were never to be seen again. 

Linda with a stone turtle head from the Tran dynasty.

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