Saturday, May 26, 2012

Formaldehyde and Water Puppets - Hanoi, Vietnam Part 1

After a bus ride that took far longer than advertised, we made it to Hanoi.

Our bus took an hour longer than advertised just to arrive, so we were waiting at the station for a while.  Finally it arrived and we jostled our way onto a packed bus, realizing we were the only passengers who spoke English.  Everything seemed to be moving along, until the bus driver started pulling over to pick up hitchhikers, and having them sit on the floor.

We have never seen a bus this crowded.  Eventually we passed out, only to wake up around 2 am to a massive rain storm, causing the dirt road to Hanoi to flood, and stranding a long line of buses and trucks.  We finally got going again and made it into Hanoi about midday.

We quickly found a room and set out to see the city.  Our first was the Doan Kiem Lake, on the edge of the old quarter of the city.

This lantern exploded as we walked by.  Not a good omen.
After that we headed to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.  On the way there we were constantly accosted by street vendors.  Some women even forced their gear on us and took photos, then demanded we pay them for the "souvenir".

After a short walk we made it to the Mausoleum.  They close off a large street in front of the Mausoleum, so you have to walk all the way around to get to the entrance.  Once there, they scan your bags for any weapons or cameras (even though they still let us take ours in).  You aren't allowed to take any photos of Ho Chi Minh's body, so we drew some pictures to help you imagine it.

Josh drew a portrait which looks eerily like David Lopan from 'Big Trouble in Little China'

Johanna drew a full body shot that is just as realistic as a photo
There are several conspiracy theories about the body being fake.  It's hard to say, but it did seem to be made from wax when viewed from certain angles.

After that we explored more of the city...

Johanna really liked the trash cans apparently...

These can be found in Vietnam, but not Colorado...

We also found this cool Pagoda on a lake in the northern part of the city

After that we walked back to the Old Quarter and grabbed dinner and drinks

Bia Hoi

Even Josh enjoyed the .25 cent beer
Finally we closed out the night with a traditional Vietnamese Water Puppet Show.  It was very dark in there, so please excuse the photos.

Check back soon for more from Hanoi and a trip to the legendary Halong Bay.

Sweating like a hooker in church.


  1. I love Johanna's drawing!! Thanks for putting up all the photos!

  2. Johanna's drawing is definitely the best, as is that amazing dragon shrubbery! Those Vietnamese garden gnomes are interesting

  3. Haha, thanks guys :) I'm definitely the artist in the family- jk