Baby It’s Cold Outside

Well, I guess if you don’t want your picture taken, then don’t wear pyjamas outside! But, I digress… “winter” is just beginning here in Hanoi. Today was a steamy 29 degrees! Although, it is supposed to drop to 22 by week end. Out and about today we saw people wearing turtleneck sweaters and even long down coats. As I said, it’s winter! At a museum, Dee and I were stopped by some young kids to practise their English. Dee got to discussing the weather with her young fella and when she said it was -6 at home in Ontario, she described that his eyes bugged out and his ears shot back. I imagined it kind of like 2 people playing tug of war with his facial features.

So, back to our day. As those who have travelled with me know, a good day starts with good espresso.

Espresso at Gao and some of the better remnants left over following the French occupation.

We decided to start our touring by visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Turns out Mausoleum sounds an awful lot like Museum which is where we ended up. The gate staff at the museum were kind enough to tell us that there was no way we would make it to the mausoleum before it closed, so in we went to see the museum. While kindly informing us about the mausoleum, they neglected to tell us that the museum closes at noon for a 2-hour break, so the staff can have lunch. We found this all out when we received a 20-minute warning that caused us to run around the museum speed-reading. As we were herded out I thought to check my watch and it was only 11:40. So, the 20-minute warning was done with enough time to make darn sure we were all cleared out before the lunch break!

Learning at the Ho Chi Minh Museum – we learn the Vietnamese like selfies, even in front of giant bananas, and the idea that you don’t go past the barrier in a museum is rather loosely interpreted and perhaps considered optional.

Around town today we saw:

Hardware street – where every store sells hardware.
Ice delivery
Delicious mango lassies for lunch

After lunch we toured Ho Lao Prison, also known as the Hanoi Hilton by the American POAs. You may recall that is where John McCain was held, and tortured, for years. Our conclusion is that people do really nasty things to each other.

Vietnamese prisoners under French rule were held shackled for most of the day and when in solitary held in this position on an incline with feet higher than head.

A lovely walk home past Hoan Kiem Lake and then met our local CESO contact, Hieu, for dinner, drinks and to watch more dancing in the street! Hieu took us out for beef pho to help soothe my very, very sore throat. After dinner I wanted some ice cream to which he said that his mom maintained that ice cream is bad for sore throats. I think she pulled the wool over young Hieu’s eyes – he asked me at least 3 times if I really wanted ice cream. Yes! My choice – passion fruit. (If you are tracking, that is beer and ice cream so far).

After dinner we caught a live rock band jamming on the street complete with their 80 year old groupies (ladies that appeared to be dancing to psychedelic music). To work tomorrow! Ladies of leisure no more.

Hot dog anyone?
How many rubber duckie balloons is it really possible to sell in one evening?
Dancing the night away


  1. Great photos, I love the ice delivery fellow – I bet he has to hustle!


  2. It’s amazing how they make the food presentation so beautiful every time (even if they are fast and loose with food health and safety such that you can’t bring yourself to actually buy and eat it).
    I loved that the ice delivery was designed with legs so it wouldn’t fall over when you park.

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