Hanoi

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Hanoi is, of course, the capital of Vietnam, although it is quieter and more sedate that Saigon.  Having arrived on the overnight train, we did a morning trip around the town, and went to see the water puppets in the afternoon. 

The 'Hanoi Hilton' (Hoa Lo Prison)

 
The claim is that US pilots called this prison the Hanoi Hilton because of the benign conditions, but I suspect there was meant to be some irony in the name.  Originally built by the French, it became home to some 2000 pilots.  Much of the original site was sold off for the construction of a tower block, but a museum remains.
 
 

Well, what else would you expect to find in a former French prison?  
 

Presidential Palace

 
You arrive here after visiting Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum (sorry, no cameras, hats, talking or hands in pockets - the only time officials were officious during our whole stay).  Ho Chi Minh turned this place down as his official residence, and instead build a much more modest abode.  Unfortunately, my film ran out at that point.

The Temple of Literature (Van Mieu Pagoda)

Founded in 1070, the Van Mieu pagoda became the intellectual and spiritual centre of the kingdom as a cult of literature and education spread amongst the court, the mandarins and the people.  After years of study, just a very few students would pass the doctoral exam.  For a while, the top student would be given the hand of the emperor's daughter, becoming his son-in-law. 

 
 

The heat-haze was more pronounced in Hanoi than anywhere else during our visit.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

PJ's the ugly one on the right

This time I'm the one on the right

 
 

Water Puppets

Street Scenes

 
 

Hanoi may be slightly more sedate than Saigon, but that doesn't mean to say that crossing the street is easy

 
 
 
 

Yes, this is a photograph of three pigs on a scooter.  The one on top was still breathing (although probably not for much longer, we suspect).

     

On To "Halong Bay"  

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