Trip Start Oct 25, 2006
27Trip End Nov 19, 2006
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Afterwards we passed the Presidential Palace which Ho Chi Minh only lived in for a few years and then on to Ho Chi Minh's House which he moved into and spent the last 11 years of his life because he wanted to live simply like his people. Next the One Pillar Pagoda and on to the Ho Chi Minh Museum. Lots of newspaper cuttings and inspirational words from Uncle Ho along with some arty stuff to signify the struggle against the oppressors etc.
The Museum of Ethnology next. This is dedicated to the 54 different ethnic groups that make up Vietnam and also a bit about the country's history. The facial looks, the distribution, Costumes, House designs etc. The most interesting part was an area devoted to the period from 1975 to 1986 when Vietnam was under the Subsidy Economy. The most surprising part was the introduction; 'The period of the "Subsidy Economy" has been known as a time of hardships, when mechanism for socio-economic management was inappropriate, causing privations in people's material and spiritual life. Material life was poor due to a sluggish and inefficient production system, but the constraints also applied to people's creative and spiritual endeavours.' I think that's about as close as a Communist Country gets to saying we got it wrong! Everything was controlled by the state. Food was rationed and people could not even own a bicycle unless officially sanctioned
There was also an open air-exhibition of the houses of 15 of the different groups. All the house had been constructed by the groups themselves on the site using traditional methods. It was great to wander around and being a big exhibition it was easy to find peace and quiet and get away from other tourists.
My last stop for the day was the Temple in the Restored Sword Lake which gave great views around the lake. Did a bit of shopping, had another nice meal and headed back to the hotel. I've had a great time in Hanoi and Mai Chau between my organised trips, it's a pity I have to move on.
My trip continues in my next TravelBlog. Through Northern Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.
Check out www-chrissy-lew.com for more detailed coverage of my trip.