High Mountain Doings

From 8200 feet along one side of the Upper Arkansas River Valley in central Colorado, my blog is about many things: travel including river and bicycle trips, and other experiences as well. The focus is on photography, not lots of text.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Remnants Preserved (out of order)

The former "South Vietnam" presidential palace in Saigon has been preserved just as it was, with the president's desk, a radio room, a map room, meeting rooms, and a personal helicopter in back. I'm not sure when this was built, but it undoubtedly represents US tax dollars at work....

First, our guide in this large building...

A meeting room, a personal helicopter, and the front steps. Note that Ho Chi Minh did NOT live like this.

Same Bridge

Here is the same bridge as below, in daylight with people on it, still quite red but seemingly less so!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bridge to an Island

A short bridge goes out to a temple on an island in Ha Noi's Hoan Kiem Lake. It is painted red, and lit with red lights. I found this to be one of the best subjects in Ha Noi for a photograph.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Especen Hotel

This is the Especen Hotel, where we stayed in Ha Noi. Here, Patty sits in the lobby. I believe we're waiting for a cab to arrive. We sought out small, strategically located hotels and this one was recommended by a friend who had stayed there not long before. It was an easy walk several blocks over to Hoan Kiem Lake where there was a good eating place. Farther around the lake was a place where we did some shopping, and a place where I bought a new backpack that replaced one that was starting to tear. The backpack says North Face on it, but I have no clue whether it was a knock-off or genuine. It cost US $15. As it turned out, my first backpack was sewn up by a small shop right across from the hotel.

I had a problem getting my correct laundry back. First, someone else's laundry was brought, and then a pair of pants was missing. But presently, the man at the desk appeared with my pants! I think the guy was trying to do his best, and the laundry had made this difficult.

Ha Noi Street

This is a city street corner in Ha Noi between our hotel and Hoan Kiem Lake, which is centrally located in the city. Nothing in particular is happening, yet life is going on for everyone pictured.

Ready for Ho

A small girl in line to go see Ho Chi Minh.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

All Lined Up

More school kids lined up at Ho's mausoleum, which is an imposing stone building. I've thought that one of the best jobs in the Vietnamese military must be duty here! The guys who stand closer, particularly inside around Ho, are considerably more formal than this guy, whose job is to manage the line of kids. The reverence for Ho Chi Minh appears to be genuine in the extreme. It does not seem to be forced, as more cynical people who have not been there might suggest.

Onward from Saigon

We had flown into Saigon (officially Ho Chi Minh City though almost everyone calls the city by its former name. Not out of disrespect for Ho, but because you just can't change the name of a city and expect the change to take hold!

Anyway, we walked around the city from our Saigon hotel. First to the Reunification Palace (former residence and seat of government while there was a "South Vietnam") and toured that. The large building has been maintained just as it was when the country was divided, and I'll come back to this after I prepare some more photos.

Then we went to the Viet Nam History Museum. I think we took a cab back after that, and flew off to Ha Noi the next day.

Ha Noi, at the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh

Here is a grade school teacher in Ha Noi lining her students up to file past Ho Chi Minh in his mausoleum. Let's note that Ho is to his country as George Washington is to the US. Possibly even more so. Ho is revered throughout the country, though most kids aren't able to actually go see him.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The photo above is Saigon, taken from our hotel. The long white line in front of the truck is a motorscooter. Another is behind the first. There were a lot more private cars than I'd ever seen before.

We were met at Tan Son Nhat Airport by a hotel driver, and were driven to the Madame Cuc Hotel. I would not have the slightest clue where we were in the city except we had looked at a map before we ever left home, so we'd be able to walk to the Reunification Palace and then go to the Viet Nam Historical Museum as recommended by my friend My Hanh.

My Hanh met us at our hotel and we all went to dinner. She communicated with the taxi driver!

The photo on the left  is a power pole showing wiring that is typical in Viet Nam. Wiring looks like this all over the city and country, so something is done differently there than here. You cannot keep these wires out of photographs, so you might as well incorporate them into your design!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Flying to Viet Nam

It was March 10, 2010. We rose at an awful hour (I'd driven to Patty's house in Denver the afternoon before), and her son took us to the Denver airport to catch a United Air Lines flight to San Francisco that departed at six in the morning. From there, we took another UAL flight that went to Hong Kong and then Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.

 Airliners that cross the Pacific often do so by flying far to the north. I don't know whether this is a "great circle" route or if they just avoid jet stream headwinds enroute. On my globe, putting one finger on San Francisco and the other on Hong Kong, a line between them should be a great circle. We were well north of that. Though it was overcast, the UAL moving map (which they show for a few minutes between movies) showed us north of the Aleutian Islands.

We finally arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (still called Saigon by those who live there, though they revere Ho as their George Washington) later in the afternoon.  Patty not only arranged all our flights, she also arranged our hotels. And there was a hotel vehicle waiting for us. Off we went into the city!

Above is a photo that must have been taken somewhere in extreme eastern Siberia. It's a total snowpack, though I was experimenting with something in Photoshop and the color isn't quite snow-like. Here it is, anyway...

Viet Nam in 2010

I've decided to post photos from our March trip to Viet Nam on here, instead of on Facebook. The photos look better here, are easier to post, and they stay here longer. Everything is right. So next post, here we go!