Friday, December 29th, 1967: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sends this reassuring telegram to Joan Baez in prison. (x)
Joan Baez - according to Metropole history - sang songs to the men and women trapped in the bunker under the Metropole during the bombing of Hanoi in the Vietnam War. Worth a visit if you’re in Hanoi, for the history or the cocktails.
Apologies for the blurry photo, but I think that despite the low quality you’ll get the gist of it. Which is essentially, do not muck about with the power lines or you will get a lightning bolt IN YOUR FACE. Obviously.
Apparently it’s a fairly common practice to hack the tangled and often low lying power lines here. True Darwin Award material.
Went to visit Ho this morning!
In order to add to my list of dead communist leaders I have seen, we made a trip to pay our respects to Uncle Ho this morning. The mausoleum is only open from 7.30 to 10.30, and the lines can get incredibly long, so an early start is a necessity. We actually got in quite quickly, and had only about a half hour wait. It turned out that this was because I managed to get us in through the appointment only entrance. Apparently I walked past the guard with such blithe self-confidence that he didn’t question me, and the other girls just followed. Whoops. Happy accident, though! Anyway, above is a statue of Ho Chi Minh from the museum on the grounds, since you’re not allowed to take photos of Ho when you’re quickly and quietly ushered by the armed guards through the mausoleum.
On the downside of the bicycle purchase, after cycling home and getting nice and sweaty, I found out that we have no running water, and the above photo is the hole in the ground we are currently (supposedly) getting it from. This could prove interesting in a house of 13 people…
So I am now the proud owner of this secondhand, fixed gear, thankfully Western-sized Vietnamese bicycle. It is not terribly shiny (or sexy) but I think we’ll be good friends! Just managed to ride it six kilometers home in peak hour traffic from where I bought it, without any traffic trouble - though a fair bit of adrenaline.
I may be far from home, but my beer radar is impeccable!
The Australian Embassy in Hanoi runs a bar the last Friday of every months, unsurprisingly known as ‘Matilda’s’. It is a very expat thing to do, but the beer is cheap and it’s pretty much like going to a summer BBQ.
Spent an hour drinking lemon iced tea and eating sunflower seeds on tiny tiny stools (like, not even as high as my knee) by St Joseph’s Cathedral in Hoan Kiem - the favourite pastime of Vietnamese youth in Hanoi. If I hadn’t felt like a giant, I would have felt very Hanoian. Still, the tea was delicious!
Ingrish / Crazy Asian Spelling - a touch of ‘moussy glmauow’ in extra-extra-extra-extra Vietnamese small.
Also, yesterday evening, we went on a supermarket run and I found these gems. My favourite was the ‘hip-hop tiger’ chocolate.
Pho for lunch today, to follow my awesome $7, hour-long, someone-honest-to-god-walked-on-my-back massage. Hurrah for Hanoi!
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