Vietnam was my first visit to a communist country, and the first difference I saw was the reverence paid to Ho Chi Minh. I just had to google this man, I thought he was not much loved in the West. I was surprised to learn that he had died in the 1970’s but he is still remembered, you simply can’t forget him. Everywhere you look, there are statues, pictures and places named after him.
Oh. Before we go any further, a word of warning. If we thought this was going to be a gentle, relaxing holiday we were in for a shock. Our bouncy, friendly guides – Ming and Ling – insisted on collecting us around 8 am. At my tender age that meant rising around 6 am, to allow time for a shower, dressing and breakfast. So, just as I was being swept off my feet by George Cloony telling me I was the woman he’d been looking for all his life, I was rudely awakened by the wretched cell phone screaming its little heart out.
I just love the presentation in the bedroom. I was tempted to sleep on the floor so I wouldn’t disturb it all.
We went first to the mausoleum where Ho’s body lies fully preserved. The streets around are kept clear of traffic and the area around is beautifully maintained.
However when we arrived the mausoleum was closed, I understand for cleaning. But these friendly soldiers were guarding it. Don’t you just love the white welly boots?
Next it was off to visit Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts – built for him by a Frenchman so it looks as if it was transported straight from the Champs Élysées.
The first pic is the place he refused to live in
and this is the one he preferred.
That was very pleasant, except there was also a party of school children in school uniform also visiting and they were not doing it quietly.
Then we gawked at a pagoda standing on a single pillar.
It’s a Buddist temple, as most of them are of course in this part of the world, but I’m still puzzling as to why they wanted it to build it on a pillar. The steps were quite steep and it is very tiny inside.
We then peered at the Tran Quoc Pagoda built on an island and yet another pagoda called the Quan Thanh Temple.
And then it was time for lunch after which, we were informed, they were going to take us by rickshaw round the streets. I nearly sent my lunch back to the kitchen. They were going to put us in little wheeled vehicles and push us head on into all that traffic! I trembled and concentrated hard on the excellent electrical wiring systems that hang in picturesque bunches as they led us to what I was convinced was my last ride ever on this planet.
(Some naughty pictures coming next week).
Now I mentioned last week that Sarah was a very bossy lady. That social ladder soared onwards and upwards. She managed to drag herself up from this
She was no wilting violet. First she asked for a title – Lord and Lady sounded so much better than Mr and Mrs. They were now Lord and Lady Churchill. Next she asked for shares in Walmart and Tesco and a platinum American express card. Ann gave her wads of cash instead.
I just have to include this as it is so amazing. The coat of arms for Ann’s husband Prince George of Denmark.
He was quiet, easy-going and what we would call today “a drip/idiot/nonentity,” that’s before the politically correct get to us. Of course the king could say what he liked. “God’s fish, what have we here? I have tried him drunk and I’ve tried him sober but can make nothing of him, but the Princess Anne seems satisfied, so it may be she has been more fortunate than I.”
George was called “Est-il-possible?” as that was all he was heard to mutter. But he and Ann had one thing in common, the love of food. Lots and lots and lots of food. So they both grew fat together.
Just one line about my new book up for pre-order http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DPVB4M8 it’s very funny.