Statues and monuments of local and foreign heroes.
Viet Nam is still officially a communist country and of course, Vladimir Ilitch Oulianov has his statue or monument somewhere; preferably on a place easy to find, where the visitors can pay respect. The monument here is in Lenin Park, a small park just opposite to the Museum of military history and the Flag tower, on Dien Bien Phu Avenue.
Interesting in Hanoi is that Viet Nam has a long independence history, occupied from time to time by Chinese or French, it is an old nation, fought fiercely for independence, but the Vietnamese do not forget their big brother who helped them; I did not find a monument to other foreign communists (I think of Mao, of course. . . Chinese and Vietnamese fought against each other in the end seventies. . . ). There are not a lot of foreigners but this music is listened a lot in Vietnam (a French version for a small return of history!).
You may see in my other writings about military history, military training of school children, etc. . . and in Hanoi, if you walk around you will see lots of other monumental statues displaying anonymous or famous heroes (picture 2 near Hoan Kiem Lake, pictures 3 and 4 at the eastern end of Pho Phan Din Phung avenue, picture 5 at Dong Xuan market) , they are mostly militaries, fighters, guerilleros, insurgents, etc. . . . Viet Nam is a fighters country, no surprise they are independent and proud of it!
Whilst on my City Tour of Hanoi, we were at the Temple of Literature when we spotted a professional photo shoot being done. There was quite a crowd of people watching the proceedings.
Lucky we were on tour, and had a guide with us, as he told us what was going on, otherwise I would have never known.
The couple in the photo, as you can see, were beautifully made up and dressed, were have shoots taken before their upcoming wedding day.
He said that before the wedding day, couples usually arrange a photo shoot, during which the bride and groom will wear their wedding garments and a range of rented outfits.
ALSO.........Vietnamese brides usually wear two wedding gowns on their wedding day - a traditional red ao dai (the traditional Vietnamese tunic-dress) for the main ceremony in front of the family altar and, later in the day, a white Western-style wedding dress at the wedding party for friends and relatives.
I think I was lucky to see the lovely couple and to find out the information!
Hoa Phuong Tower
When you are walking along the banks of Hoan Kiem Lake, you will come across this monument called Hoa Phuong Tower on the south-eastern side of the lake near to the General Post Office. During night time, there will be spotlights shining on it.
Dancing dolls in a pool of water
Vietnamese water puppets show is one of its kind. It is a "must do" in Hanoi. It's musical and fun to watch eventhough you do not understand what the song is all about as it is done in Vietnamese which brings out the authenticity of it.
There will be a stage with a pool of water where the handmade wooden puppets, coated with waterproof paint, dance with the music and song serenaded by a group of musicians at the left hand side of the stage. The stories and dances depict the cultures and history of Vietnam. The movements and gestures protrayed by the puppets in the water look lively and funny. There are several preludes in the programme. Each prelude has its distinctiveness. Believe me, even you don't get what the song is all about, somehow, the figurines will give you a sense of the storyline. Enjoy!
Note : Book tickets early as weekends are usually packed. Go as you are. Be comfortable.
When leaving for the airport...
If you hang around the old quarters, there are actually $7 rides to the Noi Ba International Airport from the doorstep of your hotel. You just need to find Sinn Cafe offices (they have like half a dozen in and around the Old Quarters, just ask around or ask your hotel concierge where to find one on your map), and pre-book it. One word of caution, if you're staying at either Sofitels, be sure they have the right one on record. Our ride was 30 mins late because it went to the Sofitel Plaza instead of the Metropole to pick us up. Lucky we made it anyway.