Monday 29 August 2016

Blue Monday

On our first full day in Hanoi, I went for a wander by myself after it became clear that Tutt had little motivation to move from the hotel room. I was looking for the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum; it's probably lucky I didn't find it as I was not dressed conservatively enough to file past his body*

Instead I wandered towards a nearby body of water in desperate search of a cooling breeze (there was none to be had). I came across these rather fetching mosaic park benches on the way, in various hues:

There was a dark blue one as well, but someone was kipping on it and I was already attracting enough attention by being a sweating, gigantic westerner, wearing clothes made in Vietnam but shipped halfway around the world for me to buy and carry back there.

I sat by the lake for a while, avoiding several men who were trying to sell me motorbikes, until a young man dressed all in black (wtf) came over and asked me to fill in a survey about tourism. The survey was all about Saigon, which made me suspicious, but I didn't want to be rude so I did what I could. He then told me he worked for the Red Cross and was selling toothpicks for a blind man. It was a real mish-mash of charitable opportunity for me, but I was not in the mood. Eventually I managed to make him believe that I didn't have any cash of any currency on me - he had stated that he would happily take British pounds - and he went away in a huff.

If he'd told me he was desperate to buy some clothes that weren't black, I might have been in a more giving mood.

* not actually his body, if popular gossip is to be believed. And what is with ignoring the wishes of communist dictators when they die? Ho Chi Minh wanted to be burned. Lenin wanted to be buried next to his mother. Both (ostensibly) ended up embalmed in glass cases, being goggled at by ignorant tourists. It's like the ultimate revenge of capitalism.


Kat said...

You have to pay for Ho Chi Minh now?! I've seen the Communist Trinity (Lenin, Mao, HCM) and they were all free when I went… but pretty spooky.

Sally said...

Apologies, no - it is free. It was closed when I went!