So, after a couple of days networking, roughly translated into on the lash, I thought I would have a wander around Hanoi to see the sites. I nice hot day, I have a rooftop terrace marked down for lunch, a no9 bus ridge from down below over to the Hoc Chi min mausoleum.
I get there and it’s mega quiet, so I donder in. A chap lets me know its closed (ffs), I know its his resting place, but on a Monday its closed, its the start of the week. Seemingly, there doing something to preserve his body. I read the sign, there are rules regarding dress and behaviour, which are strictly enforced by staff and guards. Legs must be covered (no shorts or miniskirts). Visitors must be silent and walk in two lines. Hands must not be in pockets, nor arms crossed. Smoking, drinking, eating, photography and video taping are also not permitted anywhere inside the mausoleum.
I dinnae want to go anymore anyway. His Pagoda is open to walk around. A tour bus has just turned up and it looks fairly busy. The chap is helpful, he says to go to the Military museum and Hanoi Prison. I’ve played footie up at the young offenders place, once you’ve seen one jail you seem them all. Interesting place, lots of gold, ornaments and offerings people have left with candles burning and very tranquil. There’s a big kiln where they obviously made the pizza’s and a nice pond with turtles and fishie’s. On the way out there are stall, kitsch, selling all kind out touristy nonsense, spoils the feeling a tad.
Off I trot to the Military Museum about a 1km away. Nice wee Vietnamese coffee on the way, so I’m all jacked up. Get there and I can buy a ticket for the outside as the inside is closed. I heard is superb anyway so I have a wander around and there are fighter jets, bombs, cannons and tanks. So interesting and well worth the walk and look around. Point of note, it cost 40p to get in.
I recalled the bus route on the way back, so its easy enough to walk back. About 500 yards down there road, there is an older couple looking at a map and i’m feeling – I know my way around, so I ask if there lost. ‘A fellow Scots accent’ comes back, ‘where your from’, what are the odds? We get chatting, their from Ayrshire on a 2 weeks holiday from South to North. Their looking for their hotel, the only problem being they are on the other side of the city.
We chat for about 20 mins and they kindly tell me where to go when I am in South and the middle of Vietnam. We talk about how mad the roads are, communism and what good food they’ve had. They were at Ha Long Bay yesterday – it’s very touristy, tones of boats, Mickey Mouse and has a Disneyland feel, they were not happy. A young couple on a moped had been in a crash 20 mins before they passed on the bus. It was a busy road , they were both killed and they were just left at the side of the road to be picked up, one guy looking after the bodies. That’s Vietnam he says, life goes on at a hectic pace, but always go your own pace, don’t ever try to run and nip across a road.
Spent the whole day thinking about that and been a little more cautious since. A great day in Hanoi, definitely coming back here – Ho Chi Min may not like Mondays, but I do baby!