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Love, Trust, and a little bit of Wanderlust If we don't try we will never know, in the end we only regret the chances we didn't take.

Propaganda, Palaces and Poverty

VIETNAM | Friday, 28 April 2017 | Views [622]

Before our next bus adventure we had one more day to spend in Hanoi. We had heard of a Military museum so we decided to head there. The walk there was quite a long one and on the way the traffic was as bonkers as ever. The worst thing about it is the constant beeping. We have come to the conclusion that they use the horn for a number or different reasons. 1, to tell people where they are so other drivers don't pull into them (they don't need to use their mirrors, that would be a daft idea). 2, to tell other drivers they are moving (indicators... what are they?) 3, to tell other drivers to move out of the way because heaven forbid they travel at the speed limit (if they even have one) and stay in the lanes provided on the right side of the road!!! Oh and number 4, most important of all, to infuriate pedestrians who get the fright of their lives every time someone beeps at them!! It's actually making me angry, I've contemplated pushing someone off a scooter more than once because they have beeped at me, especially the guy who beeped at me while I was on the pavement, seemingly because the traffic was going to slow so he wanted to use the pavement as an additional lane. Idiot!! (I called him much worse at the time but I'll try to keep this relatively P.G).

So, on our way to the museum we came across a stunning Church. It was fenced off so we couldn't go in but the building was beautiful. We found out it was St. Joseph's Cathedral, just there in the centre of Hanoi's chaos. I'm not quite sure why but I was surprised to see a Cathedral. I realised we didn't know a lot about religion in Vietnam. We had taken a lot from temples and shrines in Thailand, but we hadn't come across that in Vietnam.
We passed other monuments and grand buildings between the run down homes, makeshift bars and coffee shops. We also crossed a railway line, that ran between 2 rows of houses back to back. The train must almost touch the buildings as it passes it was that narrow, yet people were still using it as a path. It also dissected a busy road, similar to some crossings in the U.K, but without any barrier or any sort of signal system. Crazy!

We made it to the Military museum in one piece. We entered a building and admired the huge bronze busts of commanders and officers that were positioned around the room along with maps and a huge piece of bronze artwork on the wall. Then we realised that was all that was inside this building. The museum was spread over 5 buildings and some out door exhibits.
It was also a building site. One building was being renovated so was closed, others were half open and we almost didn't see some of the outdoor exhibits because of the 3 men and their welding machines sat in the middle of the path spraying sparks all over anyone who went near.

The museum attempted to flow with a theme of 'through the years'. But we soon noticed that some items were irrelevant to the information they were giving, some pictures of soldiers were used more than once, to illustrate different conflicts, and a lot of the later stage information was more like propaganda, of what they had achieved in more recent years as a result of 'winning the conflicts'.
The outside exhibits where mainly aircraft and weapons that had been captured from, or abandoned by the enemy. The aircraft were all American. It was a very interesting visit, but as you would expect it was a very one sided impression of military history.
We sat in the sun at a cafe and enjoyed an ice coffee then headed off to walk again. We walked to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, when we arrived all the paths to it were closed and guarded so we couldn't enter, but we had a walk around the grounds with the beautiful gardens. The road in front of the mausoleum is pedestrianised so it's peaceful. We headed back to the front to take some pictures, it was just approaching 6pm and we noticed a lot of movement with the soldiers nearby. We were just in time for a changing of the guard at the front of the mausoleum, which was great to watch.

On our walk back we passed the Ho Chi Minh Museum, the Presidential Palace, and many other grand looking buildings like Embassy's and departments of government. The contrast of this area to the Old Quarter is shocking. It's as though these places are 2 different worlds when in reality they are about a 30minute walk from each other.
We got back to the guest house, showered and packed, we needed to be ready to walk out the door for our bus first thing!

Tags: culture, hanoi, history, learning, museums, nomad, travel, vietnam, vietnam war, wanderlust

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