Am: in spacious parkland, sits the Mausoleum for Ho Chi Minh, the revolutionary leader hugely respected by many Vietnamese & viewed as the nearest most have to a god. Elderly people who fought in the war make a pilgrimage here before they get too infirm. We went around and into it, where I imagine the setup is similar to e.g. Lenin’s in Moscow, with long queues forming to enter to see his embalmed body on a central pedestal inside glass. We were watched and very strictly corralled by guards in white uniforms, who enforced its rules: e.g. no phones, no hats, no hands in pockets & certainly no smiling … In contrast, when a frail old Vietnamese couple went in, two guards very gently helped them up, around and down the steps at the other side – a striking example of their respect for their elders.
Saw several children finely dressed with makeup, who readily took up poses for photos, apart from the girl in white who looked only about 10 & seemed uncomfortable at being asked to pose for person with her.
The Temple of Literature used to be the leading university, but is now used just for special occasions like graduation. Beautiful curved roofs with carved finials of dragons, clouds etc.
During afternoon, some of us tasted egg coffee, a Hanoi speciality made with raw egg yolk in coffee over tealight burner – delicious & more like a dessert.
The next day, we were taken out of the city to a more rural area, but not without long, slow urban drive first.