Friday, April 8, 2011

Hanoi: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex

Oh valuable readers, why did we find ourselves on a recent morning shivering through inclement weather in an unending queue outside a towering marble edifice with thousands of Vietnamese children and a spattering of pink tourists?  Why, of course, to eventually enter that building and have the exalted privilege of quickly shuffling past Uncle Ho's embalmed body.  An unparalleled thrill!

Continuing onwards down a paved lane, we then discovered the Presidential Palace in a splendid wooded copse, ornately rising from the stinking alluvial plains.  Uncle Ho called this stately manor home from 1954 until his passing in 1969.

Plebes rejoice! As a devout believer in the worth of the proletariat, he reportedly only used the mansion for official state business and purposely eschewed goose-down bedding for the simple austerity of the Stilt House.  Salt of the Earth...

Schoolchildren lining up for glimpses of the proud furniture that was at one time graced by the bony backsides of the Politburo.

The One Pillar Pagoda is clearly a very aptly titled structure.  According to such celestial sources as Wikipedia and Lonely Planet, the French did the Buddhist world a great disservice and graciously blew up the original temple as part of their post-Colonial exit strategy.  The pillar itself now has a modernist, concrete LA-freeway underpass aesthetic. Righteous.

Lick thyself clean,
fair itchy feline.

Unnaturally tall tourist at the entrance.

Nellie shrewdly perfecting the perfunctory Asian teen photo pose. Shi-zu!

A family reunion shot outside of the complex. The "fuzzy purple hat memo" was a distinct success.

The Ho Chi Minh museum.  We shall place this on a future itinerary. 

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