Hanoi: Ho Chi Minh, Pagodas, and Water Puppets

March 11, 2016

By the time I got into Hanoi on Thursday it was already close to 5.  I got out of the clothes I'd been wearing for almost two days and had a beer with my cousins before the whole group walked around this lake by our hotel.

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A bridge over the lake by our hotel.

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More from the lake

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Building on the street around the lake

After the walk we ended up back at our hotel and ate at the restaurant on the top floor.  I had the Stir Fried Duck with Asian Basil. It was pretty tasty.  After that, most of us crashed.

This morning we had breakfast in the hotel and set out for a city tour at 8:30.  We first visited the grounds of the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum. It's closed on Fridays, so we couldn't actually go in, but we got to see the various houses he lived in while he was alive.  We also got to see some musicians playing various instruments for the crowds.

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The mausoleum

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A house they built for Ho Chi Minh that he refused to stay in.

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My cousin David waiting in line to see the house Ho Chi Minh spent his last years in.

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Music behind the mausoleum.

Next it was off to tours of two pagodas and temples.  They were really beautiful, my camera doesn't do it any justice.  The smell of the incense was delightful, slowly rolling through the air.

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Our awesome guide telling us about the temples and pagodas.

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Statue about 10 feet tall.

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Inside one of the beautiful pagodas. It's almost too busy to capture.

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A girl working on eggshell lacquer. We got to see the whole process.

Next we had lunch at a little restaurant that had a set meal for us.  A lot of pork and chicken dishes.

After lunch it was off to some rickshaw rides through the city.  Basically every building has some sort of business out front, selling all sorts of stuff.  I saw so many knock off LEGO sets.  But it was really cool just to have a first hand view of the everyday life in the city.

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John, one of my uncles, and my current roommate, Bill, the brother of another uncle.

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My cousin Dylan getting ready to ride.

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View from the rickshaw.

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Motor bikes everywhere of all shapes and sizes.

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Fruit for sale.

Then it was time for a water puppet show.  It was neat, but maybe a bit long to be in a dark theater after a long day.

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The water puppets.

With that over we headed back to the hotel.  I took a nap then went out with my cousins to grab some quick food.  We didn't get too adventurous, just opting for some asian pizza.  Now I'm writing up this.  I can't seem to upload the photos on the hotel's internet connection right now, so I'll probably wait and post this in the morning.  

Tomorrow it's off to Hạ Long Bay, where we'll be spending the night on a boat.  I'll post more after that.