Hanoi, you’re a little drizzly – March 7

It’s not every day you see a statue of Stalin. In fact in my experience it’s been never. Except today was not every day, so there he was looking stern as he strode across his pillar. I was waiting for Chad to try (again) retrieve some Vietnamese currency because it’s very much a cash society here and having money would be helpful. The exchange rate is: 1 USD =22,784.23VND so that makes everything seem really expensive….OH MY GOD THAT COST 100,000 dong! Oh wait, that’s like $10. Nevermind. 

First on the tourist list today, the One Pillar Pagoda. Yes, a pagoda on a stone pillar 1.25 meters in diameter. It is pretty impressive. It’s quite singular (hahaha, you see what I did there?) and was drawing quite a crowd, despite the drizzle that would not give up. Despite the pillar being so large, the pagoda itself was not. 

From there we strolled by the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum which is really big and sits on a very large parade square. The guards wear all white. Unfortunately our timing wasn’t perfect, so we didn’t see the changing of the guards. Since it was drizzling and Chad and I were starting to feel the time change, we figured it wasn’t worth it to hang around and wait. We also decided not to go see the embalmed body within. I was good without taking that visual home with us. Still, it was an imposing edifice, which was the point. 

After a stop for coffee, we visited Tran Quoc Pagoda which is on West Lake. It is the oldest pagoda in the city.  Believe it or not, it was actually moved in 1615 to it’s current spot after the river started encroaching it’s original location. The red color of the pagodas symbolizes good luck, so there’s your bit of trivia for today. Chad and I continue to be fascinated by the offerings left – particularly the cans of Coke and cases of water. 

The lake on the other side of the road is called Trúc Bạch Lake. It’s where John McCain’s plane ended up after being shot down. Interestingly enough, there is a monument for just it. Definitely did not expect that. It’s a weird looking (to me at least) sort of monument. Reminds me of a crucifix a bit. 

From there the guys headed back to the house for a rest and D’Lynn and I did some preliminary painting shopping.  There were so many painting shops. I surprised that the trend was toward ENORMOUS canvases. Huge! There were some smaller ones, but seriously some of them we’d have been hard pressed to find a wall were they could hang. And then I got art poising and was just overwhelmed and it all started to blend together. So that means I have a vague idea of a size and a theme, but Chad’s on deck to get it all sorted out. 

We ventured back out for dinner, which was a hot pot of seafood cooked on our table. Oh my gosh so much yumminess. 

The long flight, the time change, and keeping weird hours finally caught up with us today. Goodnight! 

Click on the little pics to get full size pics with captions and everything!

chris on March 7th 2017 in Travel

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