Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hanoi 5 Old Quarter (12/22/2012)

Saturday, December 22, 2012
Today we had a buggy tour of the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Our buggies were electric carts, like 6-passenger golf carts. So we were riding in style, but in a vehicle much more suited to the narrow crowded lanes of the Old Quarter.
First we passed the Vườn Hoa Con Cóc/Frog Park with the Chavassieux Fountain:
Frogs are spitting the water of the fountain.
(The disadvantage of speeding along in a vehicle is that photos are hard to take.)
Some monks along Hoan Kiem Lake:
Narrow frontage shops are stuffed with merchandise:
This shop is quite crowded:
Shop goods spill out over the sidewalk:
A big load:
Farmers appear to come into town to sell their produce:
Cho Dong Xuan/Market:
Decorated for Christmas:
We saw someone on a motor scooter carrying a life-size Frosty the Snowman.
Santa outfits:
Quan Chuong City Gate:
Bach Ma Temple:
Legend says that Emperor Lý Thái Tổ was trying to build the Hanoi Citadel but the walls collapsed due to marshy ground. Bach Ma/White Horse/God of the Sun came to show him how to build foundations. When he succeeded in building the walls, Lý Thái Tổ had this temple built in thanks.
Electrical work:
Back to the other side of Hoan Kiem Lake and the Turtle Tower:
Emperor Lê Lợi had a sword that helped him defeat the invading Chinese Ming Dynasty. Legend has it that one day when boating on this lake, a turtle came up and snatched away the sword. They could not find the sword or the turtle, so Lê Lợi concluded it was the Golden Turtle God who came to reclaim the sword. He renamed the lake as "Lake of the Returned Sword." Later this tower was built to commemorate the event.

We were returned to the Metropole Hotel, and had from 10:00 to 14:30 on our own, to pack and ready for leaving Hanoi, and for lunch. We were already packed, checked out, and started a walking tour that covered much the same area as the buggy tour.
This time the Chavassieux Fountain had bridal couples posing around it:
Lý Thái Tổ Statue and Park:
Lý Thái Tổ was the founder of the Lý Dynasty who moved the capital to this location.
Kids play soccer near the gazebo:
Hanoi's main post office in some Vietnamese moderne architecture:
Hoan Kiem Lake and Turtle Tower:
Soviet-style People's Committee Building/City Hall:
Another poster celebrating the defeat of the US B52s:
Portrait artists:
The leaves of the palmetto-like plant are trimmed in a circle:
A stone pagoda:
Gateway to the bridge to Jade Island on Hoan Kiem Lake:
Cầu Thê Húc/Morning Sunlight Bridge leading to Jade Island that has a temple:
Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre:
Unfortunately, the water puppet performances were all booked.
Snack Van:
Drive-in key maker:
See what we had to contend with walking in the Old Quarter?
We arrived at the Cha Ca La Vong Restaurant just as it opened at 11:00:
It was easy to order, since they really  have only one dish, the grilled fish.
Each table is wired for a hotplate:
You heat up the greens and grilled fish pieces on the hotplate:
Put these in your bowl of rice noodles and add some chopped lettuce and onions, peanuts, hot peppers, and a sauce for a tasty meal:
Taking a tea break from selling tea sets:
A Burberry scooter helmet:
Metal ovens?
Skateboard shop:
(I hope he wasn't a pro skateboarder!)
The toilet tissue lady:
Wholesale bottle caps:
The Huong Mai Cafe/coffee shop:
Kent has a $1 cup of coffee which has a slight chocolate taste:
A plucked chicken:
Cobra-scorpion wine:
Selling popcorn and rice crackers:
Yumm, fried dough!
St Joseph Cathedral built by the French in 1886:
A nativity scene based in the mountains?
Skewered processed meat?
Ba Da Pagoda:
They tend to call their temples pagodas in Vietnam. Something about temples have monks and pagodas not.
A stupa had decoration made from a mosaic of broken ceramic pieces:
A neatly landscaped mystery colonial building turned out to be the Hoan Kiem District library:
Portable restaurant:
A barber:
The National Library of Vietnam is supposed to be in a French colonial building:
A window washer on a building with interesting balconies:
The Kem NZ/New Zealand ice cream shop:
Really looks like a shoppe!
Clever napkin display:
A CloseUp Toothpaste Christmas display:
The new Hanoi Hilton:
Farmland on the way to the airport:
We flew Vietnam Airlines from Hanoi to Siem Reap, Cambodia:
Sunset over the clouds:
Some of us were put in Business Class because of an overbooking situation, so we had a dinner:
Goodbye Hanoi, Vietnam!
Next, Siem Reap 1.

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