New Food & Fireworks
Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
152Trip End Ongoing
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National Day here is like the Fourth of July in the US. On this day in 1945, President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence at Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi which gave birth to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. This event marked the beginning of a new era for the Vietnamese nation. During this holiday, the people and leaders in Vietnam pay tribute to their national hero Ho Chi Minh and acknowledge his contribution to the independence of Vietnam. I joined in with thousands of Hanoians at one of the four sites (Lenin Park) to view the fireworks shows. Though it was short it was quite spectacular and traffic on the streets surrounding the park were at a standstill from 20 minutes before until about 15 minutes after to watch the much anticipated fireworks show
The Thang Long Royal Citadel was recognized as a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO recently. As it's now the sixth UNESCO world heritage area recognized in Vietnam, the Thang Long Royal Citadel is resplendent with 13 century’s of history and culture. Many former dynasties were centered here and each one made and left their own personal marks in architecture and history. The central part of the Thang Long Royal Citadel has an area of 18,395 square meters, including the Hanoi ancient citadel and an array of archaeological relics. It has been compared to "a living historical collection" covering all the history of Thang Long – Hanoi with many precious architectural features and artifacts from the 7th century.
The Royal Citadel though nowhere near being fully open for viewing is still quite an interesting piece of architecture and it felt strange to be walking on the grounds and in the buildings of such a historic area.
Then sandwiched between those two historical events I tried two new foods. For dinner I had Mien Luon (Eel soup w/translucent noodles). Mien, a noodle made from cassava, is one of the most readily found ingredients in Vietnamese cuisine
Then after dropping the bike at my friend Ngoc Anh’s house we walked around the corner and bought a small “tub” of durian flavored ice cream to share. I had heard horror stories about the scent and taste of durian - an 'acquired taste’ is what I had been told by some and ‘it smells like rotten gym socks’ by others then there are those that love it and call it the ‘king of fruits’ and its scent as ‘fragrant’. I figured ice cream would be a safe way to try it for the first time. My first impression was the smell was less than appealing and I could see the case for the smelly socks but the taste wasn’t so bad, not so good either. The jury in my mind is out on it. I think I will have to try a fresh fruit version to really take a stand for or against it.
While researching the durian today before writing this entry I came upon this quote that I liked. There is a saying in Singapore during durian-picking season: "When the durians come down, the sarongs go up." That disgusting and lovable fruit, which stirs up strong passions, is reputedly an aphrodisiac. More the reason to like it! I wonder if the same saying holds true in Vietnam, I sure hope so.
Alright its time to take my cold remedies and hope this cold passes quickly.