Saturday, January 27, 2018

Rainy Day in Hanoi

It was a rainy day in Hanoi. We braved the insane traffic and walked to Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum. Uncle Ho as he was known to the people helped lead the revolution against the French colonial rulers and was the first president of Vietnam after they gained independence. We stood in line for a while before shuffling past his preserved body.

We next visited the Pagoda located in the mausoleum complex. In the pagoda area they had signs describing many versions of if you do such and such in this life, what will happen in the next life.

Our next stop was the Ho Chi Minh Museum. There were so many school groups there (on a Saturday?) that it was difficult to see much.

We left the mausoleum area and went to the Citadel where we saw a mix of ancient buildings and artifacts as well as buildings from the French inhabitation. They also had displays from the American (Vietnam) war. We went down into the bunkers used by the Viet Công army command. 

We left the Citadel area and started walking towards the lake. We noticed more and more Vietnam flags, headbands, hats, tshirts and horns and there was a mood of excitement. We found out that the AFC (Asian Football Championships) finals were on at 3:00pm between Vietnam and Uzbekistan. People were going crazy.

We found a table in a restaurant with a big tv. We were the only foreigners. The place was packed.

The game was taking place somewhere in northern China. It was snowing there....a lot. Uzbekistan got the first goal...dead silence in our restaurant. Ecstatic screams would erupt any time Vietnam came close to getting a goal. Finally Vietnam gets a goal to tie the game and the restaurant goes wild; screaming, jumping, clapping. Horns beeping on the street.

Everyone was ordering large plates of sunflower seeds in their shells and so did we.

The game went into overtime. People cheered every time Vietnam got the ball. Unfortunately, during the injury time in overtime, Uzbekistan scored. The place went dead quiet.

It was dark after the game so we walked around the old quarter. People started driving around waving flags again. If they had won the place would have been bedlam. Traffic was crazy and I’m sure there had been a lot of drinking during the game so we decided to go back to the hotel.

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