March 28: Ho Chi Minh Monument, One Pillar Pagoda
Vietnam , especially the cities we visited, demonstrate the tremendous growth the took place since 1986 when the communist administration sought to reverse poverty and political isolation. Taking steps to become open to foreign investment, Vietnam has progressively become a member of the world economic community. Signs of prosperity are visible everywhere with multitudes of motorbikes on the streets, modern neon lit buildings painting the night sky, and signs for tours at short intervals.
We had asked World Wide Quest to design a personalized nine day escorted tour of four major cities. This morning, we are met by our local guide who took us to Ba Dinh Square, the Ho Chi Minh Museum, the One Pillar Pagoda, Hoa Lo Prison (“Hanoi Hilton”).
Ba Dinh Square surrounds the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum and is the place where in September 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared national independence after liberating the far north of Vietnam from Japanese administration.
Our next stop was Hoa Lo Prison where John McCain was held prisoner. Of course, this prison presents the war – the American war – from the Vietnamese side.
We wanted to experience a typical Vietnamese lunch which is Pho – noodle, greens, and meat (chicken, beef, duck, or pork) served with chopsticks. We learned that each city and neighborhood has its own version of Pho (pronounced Pha). Here’s another version of Pho