Sunday, April 26, 2009
Morning at Uncle Ho's
The most notable event was our trip to Ho Chi Minh’s (he’s known as “Uncle Ho” here)tomb and mausoleum. The line, not surprisingly, was massive, thousands of people long, but moved also surprisingly very rapidly. Most of those in line were Vietnamese; in general they tend to be very nationalistic and Uncle Ho is the national hero. At the same time, there are a shocking amount of Western tourists in Hanoi, and they were well represented at the mausoleum.
After waiting in line for less than an hour, but walking the equivalent of what was around a mile, and after leaving our cameras before entering the mausoleum itself, we were rushed through the tomb by intimidating guards, some of whom supported rifles with scary-looking bayonets which I couldn’t tell were sharp or not.
It’s hard to know if it was the real Ho Chi Minh in there. It could have been a wax figure for all I know, and we were whisked through quickly enough (2-3 min) that I swear I saw his hand move at least once. It could have been the guard pushing me in the arm, though.
After we got our cameras and bags back, we were still within view of the mausoleum, which you see me standing in front of here, along with the yellow star on red field flag of Vietnam.