Archive for March 14, 2012

Continuing with the walkabout aroundHanoi..

History museum Hanoi– by the time we reach the museum- it was past the operating hours, so we could only loiter around the grounds. The museum was formerly the École Française d’Extrême Orient inVietnam, built by French architect  Ernest Hebrard between 1925 and 1932,  … grand and  beautiful

The Hanoi Opera House was built between 1901 and 1911,  It was modeled after  one of Paris’s opera  house. Beside the opera house is the Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel. There were some posh branded goods shops around this area

Hanoi Supreme Court

An unknown building along our way…and you might noticed that quite a number of the buildings in Hanoi are painted  yellow…I wonder is that symbolic ?

Our first day in Hanoi and as it was probably the only free day that we have during the short trip—we walked a total of seven hours….legs also feel like dropping off one..

Dinner was featured in the earlier posting . The conference was on the second day so  apart from walking from the hotel to the venue, there were no free time to walkabout .We had such a good dinner at Quan Ah Ngon the night before, and so we decide to repeat the visit again one more time.

The ordering of the meal was simpler this time as we had pre-determined what we wanted – Hotpot ! Which was the perfect meal for a cold night. We ordered the seafood hotpot (VND 240,000) , which came with a plate of seafood : clams, squid, prawns and  fish

Plus a very large serving of vegetables…we were also provided with rice noodles ( not shown in pix)

It took ages for the content of the soup in our hotpot to boil…and we repeated the actions of lifting the lid to check if the soup was bubbling .. the waitress must have gotten a bit fed up of us taking up unproductive space or maybe we are doing it the un-Vietnamese way, she came to our table, lifted the lid and pour all the seafood into the un-bubbling pot. The guys protested-aiya..how can ? then the seafood have to soak  for so long, sure the meat will be tough la..etc etc….and then they later see the logic of the unboiling soup, where the food can soak longer and not get tough..

The soup was sourish which increase our appetite and add that  element of the cold air. The hot soup did not just warm our tummy but our souls too….this was the perfect meal ! Loverrrrrllyy…

Fast forward to our last day in Hanoi, one of our traveling companion had to leave the hotel for the airport at 8.15 a.m and I had a 9 a.m. meeting, so no more walkabout right ? WRONG !  We met up at 5:45 a.m for the final  walkabout..

There was a slight drizzle…my little hat was good enough to keep out the light rain … it wasn’t that cold…secretly- I had wished that it will be extremely cold – you know la..back in KL in a few hours and  it will be back to boring humid and warm weather

We reached the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum /Ba Ding Square at about 6:05 and saw 2 tour buses , HUH ? Also got people crazy like us around mehh ? Then we guessed that there might be a flag raising ceremony guarrr ? We stood around the Square, and although it was drizzling, we saw locals that are having their walks and not to mention the increasing number of tourist ( from the look and sound  of it Chinese and Japanese)

At 6:15 the guards asked everyone to vacate the tarmac to  the grassy area.. a while later recorded marching music filled the air…then a group of marching guards in white uniforms emerged. 

They got closer and stopped at the platform/ flagpole

The large square building at the background is the  Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum where the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh is preserved, the mausoleum was inspired by Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow

Hurahhhh..the flying flag…

The One Pillar temple is located not far from the Mausoleum . Extract from wikipedia : The temple was built by Emperor Lý Thái Tông, who ruled from 1028 to 1054. According to the court records, Lý Thái Tông was childless and dreamt that he met the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who handed him a baby son while seated on a lotus flower. Lý Thái Tông then married a peasant girl that he had met and she bore him a son. The emperor constructed the temple in gratitude for this in 1049, having been told by a monk named Thiền Tuệ to build the temple, by erecting a pillar in the middle of a lotus pond, similar to the one he saw in the dream.

In 1954, the French Union forces destroyed the pagoda before withdrawing from Vietnam after the First Indochina War, It was rebuilt afterwards.

The Ho Chi Minh Museum housed documents, objects and films about President Ho Chi Minh’s life and revolutionary work. We were too early to gain entrance into the museum so we could only  walk around the building, saw an elderly gentleman seeking shelter from the rain , being the ever polite Malaysian ( ahem) that I am,  I wished him ‘ Xin Chau’ ( good morning or greetings- in Vietnamese) and his reply ‘ I don’t speak Vietnamese’..hehehe…

It was time to  head back to the hotel…passed the Malaysian embassy.. …sure got to take a picture lah…Demi negara yang tercinta….

A day  ago , we drove and wheezed passed the Flag Tower in  the day time  and in the few seconds that I saw it – it looked err..brown and old. And today, when we passed the Tower before 6 a.m  , it was lit –it was so beautiful- white and elegant and there were some designs on it too, and the guys said… this is the same tower, I said- no lah..that one so ugly one and square one and at 7:45am, when the sky is lighter and the lights are off…err…it’s back to brown and old ugly tower…the changes were kinda like Princess Fiona…except that she is green not brown…

The Flag Tower  was built in 1812 and lies within the compound of the History Military Museum

Conclusion – sometimes it is really worthwhile  to wake up early…yawnnnnnnn