Mardi 16 août 2011: au réveil sur la baie d'Halong.
Well that's the end of that!
Oh my sweet Lord, the guy above is carrying a big fat pig on his motorbike!!! Back to Hanoi and on the way, a stop in Haiphong. Haiphong is the third largest city in Vietnam and means coastal defense. It is also called "The City of the Red Flamboyant", because of the many flamboyants planted there. When the country was invaded by the French, it became France's main naval base in Indochina. Later during the Vietnam war it was heavily bombarded by US forces as it was North Vietnam's only major port. Here we visited the Hang Kenh Communal House, which was built in 1717. Apparently there are 308 dragons of all sizes and shapes here. Had I known, I certainly would have counted, like the steps going up the Eiffel Tower, just to make double sure that the total was correct!!!
Retour vers Hanoi. Haiphong, maison communale.
Another short stop at the But Thap Pagoda on the way back to Hanoi. Known as Vietnam's first Buddhist center, it was originally built in the 13th century and is now attracts many pilgrims. In the garden are two stone stuppas, of about 20 m high which look like paintbrushes. While we were there, there was a ceremony for the dead, so it was fairly crowded. My dentist would have loved these women; when they smiled, oh my God, their teeth were all black, which is supposed to be a sign of beauty here! I guess they never heard of the "Colgate smile"!!!
Pagode des Pinceaux, fête des morts.
Back in Hanoi. Notice the last picture on the bottom right hand corner; the fellow is carrying goldfish on his motorbike!
Retour à Hanoi.
Wednesday august 17, last day in Hanoi, last day in Vietnam. In 2010, the country celebrated its birthday. Guess how many candles the young lady blew? One thousand!!! So for the millenium, along the Red River in Hanoi, a long 4km wall was covered with mosaics, designs changing every 50 meters or so. The Hanoi Ceramic Road was completed in october 2010. The black and white designs above, are just a tiny sample. I wanted to see an antique store, that happened by chance to be a block away from our hotel. Then we were off for a day long stroll all over the old city. One last glimpse of life in the capital. Watching people going about their daily lives is utterly fascinating. All 85 million of them are constantly busy like bumble bees, hustling and bustling, and always on the move, busy as can "bee"!!!
Mercredi 17 août 2011 à Hanoi.
Darn it... It's time now to put a "THE END " to this wonderful, fascinating, memorable trip. It turned out I find, that going from south to north, rather than the reverse, was an excellent idea, as I things just got more interesting; so if any of you ever go there, I would suggest doing it that way.