Published: August 27th 2008August 27th 2008
We have been keeping a fairly busy pace for the past couple of days and haven't found time to blog - sorry if you have been anxiously awaiting the next installment. Anyway here we are filling in sometime before our transfer to the airport so we will do our best to fill in you in on what we have been up to.
25/8/08 - at 8am which felt like the hottest part of the day we took a walk along Cua Dai Beach across the road from our resort to take a few last minute pics there. The locals were already out in full force hawking their wares, baskets of the usual bracelets, postcards, beachballs, fruit etc. They are very persistent and can eye a tourist off as quick as a wink. It was a bit of a novelty at first but then got very annoying and I have to admit we have on occasions purchased something in the hope that they will move on - doesn't work in all cases though. Our guide and driver then came to take us to the airport in Danang. We have had the same guide all the time in this area. His name was Phung and his service amazing ( yep that word again - but this place & the people are! ) Anyway on the way he pointed out interesting sights; former US ariforce base, the Quan Am pagoda on Marble Mountain and all the new resort construction and got the driver to stop so we could take photos. At the airport he checked our bags in and organised our seats, really treated us like royalty. We loved him and tipped him again.....he was very appreciative, but we felt scabby as all the tips we had given him totalled 240,000 dong which is only about $17 AUD. When we arrived in Hanoi it felt cooler but the temp was 31oC and very hazy. Again heaps of traffic and constant horn beeping - we instantly noticed more cars on the roads here and of course they have to fight for road space with the scooters. Checked in and walked around our hotel area, then our guide and driver for here came and took us to the Water Puppet Theatre - a very traditional art form - puppets carved from wood on the end of bamboo poles performed on water ( see pic ).
Long day of sightseeing in Hanoi - first in the morning to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleom we saw Uncle Ho lying in state against his wishes but something the government thought the people should have.A place to pay their respects for the father of Independance - he wanted to be cremated. There were children from another province there paying homage. The top students from the schools get selected to visit him and report on their achievments. It is considered an honour to be chosen. Behind the site is the house he lived in and lots of his heritage items...all very interesting. Next on the agenda was the One Pillar Pagoda and temple - a tribal woman came up to me from the Black Hamong tribe and the guide asked her to pose for a pic with me- that was cool! Then to the prestigious Temple of Literature the first university of Vietnam dating back to the 10th century - again lots and lots of photos and interesting info. From there to a handicraft workshop of traditional embroidery - did some shopping there!! Lunch was next another banquet or traditional food - yummy! The afternoon we visited another temple Hoan Kiem Lake ( think that is how you spell it but the one with the red bridge and turtle pagoda in the middle ) then off to the History Museum - we both liked that and got an insight into the turbulent past of this country dating back centuries. Then we did a 1 hour cyclo tour of the Old Quarter back to our hotel. Then a little rest before hitting the souvenir shops!!.
This morning we went to the Fine Arts Museum saw beautiful silk and lacquerware paintings and costumes of the 58 different enthic groups that make us this country. Well best upload some photos for you and find some lunch before our guide arrives - HooRoo!
Grrr!!! - we are having trouble again uploading pics - as soon as we plug the USB cable in the PC locks up - ah well - look out for my big slide show of pics in the coming days!