Chiang Mai - Hanoi Back Part 4 Hanoi

Discussion in 'Vietnam - Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Continued from

    Chiang Mai - Hanoi Back Part 1
    and
    Chiang Mai - Hanoi Back Part 2 Sapa
    and
    Chiang Mai - Hanoi Back Part 3 Bac Ha

    DAYS HANOI
    Semi-rest day & tourist time...

    2 nights in Hanoi & a small respite to look around the city

    DAY 1 a couple of "compulsory tours"

    Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum
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    we passed on this, & the above is as much as we saw.

    Next stop were the lakes.
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    Silverhawk in front of John McCains memorial crash site.

    Hanoi's lakes in he middle of the city are beautiful
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    Next stop was a little more serious: The Temple of Literature

    From Wikipedia
    The landmark was founded in 1070 as a Confucian temple. Only parts of the V?n Mi?u complex date back to the earliest period, although much of the architecture dates to the Lý (1010 – 1225) and Tr?n (1225 – 1400) Dynasties.
    In 1076 Vietnam's first university, the Qu?c T? Giám (???) or Imperial Academy, was established within the temple to educate Vietnam's bureaucrats, nobles, royalty and other members of the elite. The university functioned for more than 700 years, from 1076 to 1779. Given the extreme difficulty of the doctor laureate tests, few students passed final examinations. The list of names engraved on the stone stele every year during this period is very small. The stele records 2,313 students graduating as doctor laureats.[1]
    Emperor Lê Thánh Tông established the tradition, dating back to 1484, of carving the names of the laureates of the university on stone steles that were placed on top of stone tortoises. Of the 116 steles corresponding to the examinations held between 1142 and 1778, only 82 remain.


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    We weren't alone
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    Hello farang
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    Free classical VIetnamese music & singing
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    En route to the next attraction
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    The infamous "Hanoi Hilton" prison
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    From Wikipedia
    The name Hoa Lo, commonly translated as "fiery furnace" or even "Hell's hole", also means "stove". The name originated from the street name ph? H?a Lò, due to the concentration of stores selling wood stoves and coal-fire stoves along the street from pre-colonial times.

    The prison was built in Hanoi by the French, in dates ranging from 1886–1889 to 1898 to 1901, when Vietnam was still part of French Indochina. The French called the prison Maison Centrale —literally, Central House, a traditional euphemism to denote prisons in France. It was located near Hanoi's French Quarter. It was intended to hold Vietnamese prisoners, particularly political prisoners agitating for independence who were often subject to torture and execution.A 1913 renovation expanded its capacity from 460 inmates to 600. It was nevertheless often overcrowded, holding some 730 prisoners on a given day in 1916, a figure which would rise to 895 in 1922 and 1,430 in 1933. By 1954 it held more than 2000 people; with its inmates held in subhuman conditions, it had become a symbol of colonialist exploitation and of the bitterness of the Vietnamese towards the French.

    The central urban location of the prison also became part of its early character. During the 1910s through 1930s, street peddlers made an occupation of passing outside messages in through the jail's windows and tossing tobacco and opium over the walls; letters and packets would be thrown out to the street in the opposite direction. Within the prison itself, communication and ideas passed. Indeed, many of the future leading figures in Communist North Vietnam spent time in Maison Centrale during the 1930s and 1940s; in the end the prison served as an education center for revolutionary doctrine and activity, and it was kept around after the French left to mark its historical significance to the North Vietnamese.

    The Hanoi Hilton was merely one site used by the North Vietnamese Army to house, torture and interrogate captured servicemen, mostly American pilots shot down during bombing raids. Although North Vietnam was a signatory of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949, which demanded "decent and humane treatment" of prisoners of war, severe torture methods were employed, such as rope bindings, irons, beatings, and prolonged solitary confinement. The aim of the torture was usually not acquiring military information; rather, it was to break the will of the prisoners, both individually and as a group. The goal of the North Vietnamese was to get written or recorded statements from the prisoners that criticized U.S. conduct of the war and praised how the North Vietnamese treated them. Such POW statements would be viewed as a propaganda victory in the battle to sway world and U.S. domestic opinion against the U.S. war effort. In the end, North Vietnamese torture was sufficiently brutal and prolonged that virtually every American POW so subjected made a statement of some kind at some time. (As one later wrote of finally being forced to make an anti-American statement: "I had learned what we all learned over there: Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine." Realizing this, the Americans' aim became to absorb as much torture as they could before giving in; one later described the internal code the POWs developed and instructed new arrivals on as: "Take physical torture until you are right at the edge of losing your ability to be rational. At that point, lie, do, or say whatever you must do to survive. But you first must take physical torture."


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    The Solitary Confinement Cell
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    The sentry box
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    A monument to the sewer escapees
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    16 Vietnamese prisoners escaped from the French through this "rat hole" on the night of 14 December 1951.
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    The view from the other end
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    And then it was the turn of the Americans to be imprisoned by the Vietnamese
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    McCains captured airman's suit (I think it was.) McCain seemed to get a lot of the glory, but you have to wonder about all the other guys who suffered & died.

    A photo of damage from an American bomb
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    Uncle Ho's Happy New Year message from 1969
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    and still in pristine condition.

    The death row cells
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    and if it was the French who had you locked up - this was your easy way out
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    After visiting this site I could not but help think, how cruel life can be & how cruel man can be to fellow man.
    Why do we do it & how do we trap ourselves in such terrible situations.
    It is really necessary?
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    Back on the road, more Hanoi traffic
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    it was a wise thought, organising the day sightseeing in an aircon mini bus & not doing it on the bikes fighting your way throiugh the traffic - just to get lost?

    Whilst seeking out a restaurant for lunch, we spotted a couple of big bikes on the street & I could not resist not getting a photo
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    And this one was the winner
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    go here
    what-bike-is-this-t7506.html
    to find out what it is.

    Just next door a street side artisan
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    One of his masterpieces?
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    Lunch was at a hole in the wall cafe
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    and it was incredibly delicious
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    food fit for a captain?

    After lunch it was back to the lake area
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    and a serious tourist jaunt through the old French Quarter
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    The pressure's on & who's going to make a decision
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    Overall the rickshaw ride was certainly interesting, but you could have walked faster & you did not need an hour.

    Back lakeside
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    Joe wanted some chain lube for the AX1 & the F650, so the hunt was on
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    walking was the only way to go & find the right shop in this traffic. We found some & retired to the hotel, somewhat stressed out with the frenetic pace of Hanoi, plus knowing that tomorrow was yet another push on day.

    However before we left Hanoi, one more celebratory banquet dinner
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    I have no complaints whatsoever about the food in Vietnam - absolutely delicious everyday, not that I knew exactly what it was I was eating all the time!

    Then before we hit the sack, a night cap at the 17 Cowboys Pub
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    needless to say I was again highly impressed, with the staff, service (& bill, very impressive.)

    Two nights 1 day in Hanoi was nowhere near enough & I want to return for a few days R&R with Happy go-lucky...

    GO TO NEXT PART (5) HANOI - XAM NUA (LAOS)
    Chiang Mai - Hanoi Back Part 5 Hanoi - Xam Nua
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2016
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  3. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    Take a bow gents! :clap: That is one impressive effort and much appreciated to blaze the trail for the less intrepid of us. Can't say I would have enjoyed the construction delays or eating that dust for hundreds of KM at a time early in the trip, but in 4-5 years when paved and in November, that is going to be a fabulous scenic loop. Just great stuff all around, too bad some of us still have to work and merely look on back here in the "developed" world. :(
     
  4. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

    Fantastic reading David and Lads

    Looking forward to next episode
     
  5. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    David is now getting these up so fast, I can't keep pace. Here is another photo of a loaded motorcycle. It seems they can carry almost anything. I missed a photo op of one motorcycle carrying another strapped across the pillion seat.

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    :evil: I do have to correct some glaring errors. After visiting the Hanoi Hilton, I don't understand where Wikipedia gets all this informtion about "torture", decades of detention and other such nonsense.

    In David's photo above, it shows the momument to John McCain. The guide told me the tall, twin tower building in the background is approximately where McCain dropped his bombs. "He was then shot down and crashed in the lake. He was rescued by the samaritans of Hanoi and treated for his broken legs." I asked; "And when did he get his broken shoulders?" but the guide just gave me a blank stare.

    And after all, this sign in the prison is very clear;

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    Here are photos of the U.S. prisoners having Christmas dinner with a decorated tree, candles and flowers on the table and all you can eat............

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    When they weren't having huge dinners, they had their own billiards room, they could grow crops, and raised their own livestock for meat.

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    Really!! It's right there on the wall of the prison. :crazy: Who would have guessed?? :twisted:
     
  6. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    I can't help but wonder what some of us senior GT-Riders will be doing in the (hopefully) distant future. When the African Twin has rotated it's clock for the last time; when those legs don't quite want to clear the seat any longer (kind of like Nong Kiew, David).

    This picture just brings to mind so many other mental images................... :lol-sign:

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    A GT-Rider and his "riding" mechanic
     

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