An elegant sufficiency

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Exploring the City

...and who knew that there were Vietnamese artists painting in the Impressionist style? Certainly we didn't....

But the day began with a visit to Uncle Ho. Years ago, we'd paid a visit to his friend in Moscow, so the experience was not exactly surprising. His embalmed body lay in a glass coffin, lit in an eerie manner which made him glow rather - and he turned out to be somewhat smaller than we expected. Zoom wondered if he'd shrunk a little, since he goes back to Moscow every Autumn for "maintenance" she told us. Anyway, we were pleased to have paid homage and enjoyed seeing his "simple home" nearby (with semi-detached bunker) too.

Next stop was the Temple of Literature, for a brief look around the first Vietnamese university and shrine to Confucianism. Because of the heat, we didn't find this as interesting as we ought to have done...we were beginning to melt a little by now and I was too distracted by the fashions in the group ahead of us - you'll have to believe me about the 3" stiletto heels which match the white trousers!

I was also beginning to get a bit flippant about the translation of the signs - had you been there, you'd have understood..."No Graffiti"

Next stop was the Fine Art Museum where we enjoyed looking around so much unfamiliar art. It's not that it isn't fun to go to places like the Chicago Art Institute and see the old favourites, but it's somehow more interesting to go somewhere that contains only the unfamiliar and the different. In fact, what we enjoyed most of all were the lacquer paintings, my favourite being this one by Nguyen Duc Nung:

Having "done" the fine art museum, we jumped on a couple of cyclos to have a quick whizz around the 36 streets which make up the old town. What fun! I'll post photos in a separate blog entry, because there are quite a few. We spent the afternoon wandering the streets, bewildered by the currency (32,000 Dong = £1) and deciding that crossing the streets here is rather easy - you just close your eyes and walk purposefully forward, regardless of what traffic is coming!

This evening, we've been to a "Water Puppet Show" - something we didn't particularly feel bothered about but which was actually rather clever!

Off to Hue first thing tomorrow morning, so an early start. Hopefully Blogger will allow me to post photos a little more easily from there.



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