Hanoi

There is a lot to say about Hanoi. Coming of age in the era of the Vietnam War, I thought of it as a dark forbidding place and never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever visit. NowI not only visit, but I am getting to know it like a friend.

There are many notable sights to see in Hanoi. There is the complex that surrounds Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum. It contains the Presidential Palace built by the French, Ho Chi Minh’s two unassuming residences, a museum dedicated to him, and the One Pillar Pagoda. Further off in the city are several lakes, the Temple of Literature, the Old City, and one of the famous Vietnamese water puppet theaters. Of course, there is also Maison Centrale, the old French prison that used to house political opponents of the French, but during the Vietnam War era, housed US POWs including John McCain.

But today, I want to show you the character of the city. It is perhaps enhanced in these pictures by the gentle rain that was falling as I took them.

Early in the morning in Hanoi

Early in the morning in Hanoi

This woman is readying her flower cart. There are hundreds of flower carts in Hanoi and in the days before the celebration of Tet, many of them are festooned with flowering branches, many times of peach blossoms, without which, the holiday is not complete.

Flower vendor with blossoming peach branches

Flower vendor with blossoming peach branches

Park in downtown Hanoi

Park in downtown Hanoi

This park has a large memorial to the fighters of Vietnam. Here, the women are cleaning the park, sweeping it in the early morning hours. The hats they are wearing are worn throughout the country. They provide shade from the sun while allowing circulation of air.

Luscious flowers in Hanoi

Luscious flowers in Hanoi

Tet is a holiday that is celebrated with great joy. There are dozens of customs that accompany the holiday. One of them is decorating the home. These decorations are very similar (perhaps identical) to those of the Chinese New Year which comes out at just about the same time, in the mid-winter.

Tet decorations

Tet decorations

And lest you think that Hanoi is a frightening or dangerous place to be, rest assured that you have nothing to fear. The watchful eyes of the FBI are guarding you.

FBI Agent

FBI Agent

Comments

  1. FBI = Furry bureau of investigation.

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