Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hanoi - a walk to the west of the railkway line

After the train crossed the bridge over the Red River, it passed down this narrow alley way. The gauge in Vietnam is only one meter wide. The alley is so narrow that it would almost be possible to tough the buildings on either side if the windows opened.

I started walking along Dien Bien Phu street towards the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. This was quite different from the Old Quarter.

The traffic was much more organized and there was even a traffic policeman.

I came to the War Museum but was not allowed to enter. However I did get this photo of one of the North's MIG fighters.

These walk signs do exist in Hanoi. Sometimes they don't mean too much and you still have to exercise caution.

I expect a lot of these houses were built when the French had a strong influence.

The Mausoleum in the distance. I had no plans to visit it since one of the friendly Hotel assistants had told me that it would be closed that day.

I walked down towards the Temple of Literature and reached a set of gardens that flank the Temple which is on the other side of the wall in the back ground.

I paid the inexpensive entry fee and entered.

Quite a few Vietnamese were visiting but only a few western tourists.

Baskets of leaves swept up by the gardeners.

A class photo. Since the temple was a traditional site of learning, it makes sense for classes to come here.

These young ladies looked like they were going to a wedding.

Another class photo.

A real Graduation with their teacher in blue.

Incense burner.

Altar to Confucius.

These stones or Steles have the names of 1307 graduates who passed exams here between 1442 and 1779.

The years.

After I left the temple I went back to the garden next door to walk around for a bit.

The garden was more peaceful than the Temple.

There are so many interesting buildings but since I can't read Vietnamese, I don't have a clue what they are.

When I returned to the hotel, my shirt was again wringing wet. I've decided that it is pointless having a shower first thing in the morning. Have the shower after your walk and then have a nap.

That evening, I had a Bun Bo at a hole in the wall restaurant near the hotel. Near the restaurant was a place that offered a 70 minute long full body massage for $9. Since my body was a bit achy I decided to try it out. I was led to a back room with three tables and given a pair of shorts to change into. I put my clothes in a locker and the key was given to me on a bracelet that went around my hand. A young lady was already working on some bloke on the table next to min pummeling away at him. My masseur turned out to be a small young man who set to work on me. Good lord it was tough. He found parts of my back I didn't know existed. Still I could feel it working but it was a much rougher experience than anything I had before. They even climb on top of you and then push down into your back. 

With all of my walking, I think he was ok with my back and legs, but he was much amused by my paunch. He did not speak too much English but hew know enough to say 'too much beer'.

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