Hello Vietnam!


My first impression of Vietnam? Motorscooters. Lots of them.

20130228-220229.jpgIf you are brave enough, you can venture out onto the crowded streets in a cyclo.

20130228-222546.jpgOnce you get over the fear of being run down, this is actually a very cool way to take in the sights.

20130228-223841.jpgOn this brief stay in Hanoi, there was time to visit the Temple of Literature, which at one time was a center for teaching. Most interesting here was learning the difference between temples and pagodas. In case you don’t know, a temple recognizes humans of significance, in this case Confucius who is regarded as a great teacher. A pagoda is where gods, especially Buddha, are worshipped. These are subtle but important differences.

20130228-225345.jpgA special treat was a water puppet show, truly a unique performance that requires flawless coordination. The puppeteers are hidden behind a curtain until the end of the show when they wade out to receive their acknowledgement. Talk about being all wet….

20130228-230138.jpgAs much as I enjoyed my first glimpses of Vietnam, I must confess that my favorite part of the visit was staying at the Metropole Hotel. It is not only a historic location which has attracted many a famous guest, but it is beautifully appointed with thoughtful touches. Check out the bottle of water! I think I will have a swallow, call it a day and dream about tomorrow’s adventure. See you then!

12 thoughts on “Hello Vietnam!

  1. Beautiful pictures. I love following your travels.

  2. Juliette Mai Triozon March 18, 2013 — 1:49 am

    Hi, i see that the scooters have replaced the bicycles of the past (2005) in Hanoi. About the difference between temple and pagoda, i was surprised that they consider Buddha as a God.”…Buddhists revere the Buddha, not as a deity, but as a man who found the answers to life’s most profound questions. He was Siddhartha Gautama, a noble Indian prince who embarked on a spiritual quest to understand the nature of suffering and escape the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. For years he travelled and through meditation, he was able to understand the “Dharma” or truth of human existence and to attain enlightenment. After this, he became the “Buddha” the “Awakened One”! Usually, the prayers are intended to open up the hearts of individuals and release a great flow of compassion that will enhance the well-being of others. The prayer is considered as an extension of the spiritual journey that seeks to transcend egotism and emotional dependency, and replace them with compassion, wisdom and positive energy. I am glad you are enjoying Vietnam, it has very diversified landscapes, lush green rice paddies with kids riding on buffalos, women with their conic hats working in the fields, mountains, sea of China all along the coast and mostly its people, friendly and very hospitable. After the war, i returned a few times as a “tourist” myself and i have enjoyed visiting all the places I could not (because of the war)! I took the less travelled paths and that’s where I really fell deeply in love with my country of birth…I highly recommend anyone with a bit of “adventure” to visit Vietnam before the cars hit the roads and before it becomes too modern and “civilized”!

    1. Yes, I was confused by Buddha being considered a god as well and asked for clarification again and again. Always the answer was the same though it seems that the way the religion is practiced varies from place to place. In that sense, it resembles the diversity in other religions. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your comment, and I totally agree with you about Vietnam.

  3. I didn’t know about the pagoda/temple difference, thank youfor that !

  4. I am so enjoying my trip!

    Janice “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  5. wow…love the pics!!…I guess if gas goes any higher here, we will all be driving scooters…What beautiful sights and that hotel looks wonderful…the room looks so pretty and comfy!!….Have fun!! Looking forward to more of your adventures!

  6. Just absolutely amazing photos!!! The number of scooters and bikes there is just unbelievable! They seem to outnumber cars by leaps & bounds!!! That cyclo thing looks a little scary. Think I’ll pass on it! 🙂 The hotel….fabulous! Luxurious! Wow!!!!!!!! I’m going to start dressing up bottles of water for overnight guests. That’s a neat idea! Have fun!!!

  7. Wow! Gorgeous photos, and I love the concept of the water puppets – thanks for sharing.

    1. Hope to look at art today but if we don’t have time, the paintings in this hotel are lovely.

  8. Welcome to Vietnam!! I did a little write up on your travels today..hope you don ‘t mind. So excited for you all!! xx

    PS..will Jean join you at any point of the trip in VN?

    Sent from my iPhone

    Jeanne Henriques

    1. Mind? Jeanne, I’m honored and love thinking of this journey as a traveling sisterhood!

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