Temple of Literature & HCM mausoleum
Trip Start Feb 08, 2010
28Trip End Apr 07, 2010
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This university was founded in 1076 under the King Ly Nhan Tong. It educated Confucian scholars. Today it is one of the major cultural sites of Vietnam.
From the Temple, it was a relatively short walk to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. It is a building of imposing size with extensive grounds in front of it. We didn't go in to see the body of Ho Chi Minh which has been placed in a glass sarcophagus. There is a very strict dress code in place; as well visitors must register and leave bags and camera equipment in a reception hall
In the area of the Mausoleum is the Presidential palace and many foreign embassies, including Canada's.
Along the way is Lenin Park, with a statue of Lenin at the entrance gate.
On our walk to the Temple of Literature, we had scoped out a small store in which to buy some cheese for our evening meal. We also picked up a bottle of red wine in a real estate office and bought some crusty baguettes from a street vendor.
So much of the local life happens on the streets-eating, drinking, socializing, cooking, washing clothes and dishes etc. Many of the shops close up for the night and become sleeping quarters. Mopeds and motobikes are also parked indoors.
Everywhere are small outdoor bars which have child sized red and sky blue plastic chairs and tables, where local beer, Bia Hoa, is served. We decided to stop for a couple of glasses and watch rush hour traffic go by. Some operatic music started blaring from a loudspeaker on a street pole and then someone talked for a good 1/2 hour
As per usual, it was very entertaining. The flow of traffic was constant and fast, with bikes and cars whizzing by and people trying to cross the street in the middle of it. There are very few traffic lights in this city and when there are, they aren't always obeyed. We saw a couple on a scooter with a sink between them. All sorts of items are transported this way: televisions, ladders, all kinds of products and produce, even small trees. Small children are usually sitting in between their parents or hanging on to their parent's waist.
We returned to our hotel room and ate bread and cheese with our wine, on our balcony.. Very pleasant to sit in that privacy, listening to the traffic and horns and the church bell.
Later, we went back to the tapas restaurant and had some fried calamari, (more) cheese and bread, then decided to return to our room.
We met a couple of young women who were from Holland. They were looking for a particular backpackers hangout. Since we knew where it was, we offered to show them. So, we chatted with them for awhile and at 9:30pm the bar staff announced that it was closing. Whoosh! Within minutes the place was emptied of people! These young farangs went in search of another place. Since we had an early morning the next day, the old wise ones skipped the festivities and went to our room and slept.