Uncle Ho

During our last full day in Hanoi we had a half day tour of the city with two volunteers from the organization hanoikids. Our guides for the day were Hoe (I might have that spelled wrong) and Thanh, two university students. With them we went to visit the Ho Chi Min Complex and the Temple of Literature.

The Ho Chi Min Complex was quite the trip. First we went and saw the Ho Chi Min Masauleam. There were a couple of security checks along the way to the masauleam, they didn’t want any bags or cameras taken in. The masauleam itself is a big square concrete structure that looked like something you’d see in Russia.

Inside the masauleam was the perfectly maintained body o Uncle Ho himself. Apparently the Russians gave the Vietnamese a lot of help in this regard. Uncle Ho (as the hanoikids affectionately refer to him as) died in 1968 and was finally placed inside the masauleam I’m 1975. It was really weird seeing some old dude lying there perfectly preserved.

Next we wandered around the complex for a while before checking out the Ho Chi Min Museum. The museum was really interesting, but for reasons different from other museums I’ve visited. The HCM Museum was all about revolutions and symbolism. There were lots of interesting and beautiful structures inside and usually they were ties into some kind of statement on revolutions. Picasso’s art and influence had a strong influence in the museum, there was even one room devoted to Gurinca.

After leaving the complex we visited the Temple of Literature. This was Vietnam’s oldest university, which graduated students between the 7th and 17th centuries. It was another interesting Temple and the kids enjoyed rubbing the heads of the stone turtles which apparently gives good luck.

We finished off our little tour with the Hanoikids by having lunch at a regular Vietnamese Bo restaurant. After a tasty and cheap lunch we said goodbye to our two hosts and headed back to the hotel to give the kids some downtime.

I found Hanoi to be a really interesting city to visit and I could have spent more time there. It’s the kind of Asian city that has lots to offer: noise, action, chaos, tasty food, fresh beer, temples, local interactions and lots of foreign/tourist interactions if a person is so inclined. On a scale of 1 to 10 I’d give it an A.