We've been surprised and delighted with how beautiful the city is. But the driving is absolutely crazy with cars and motorbikes not paying any attention whatsoever to pedestrians and their right of way! At the start, I was running across green lights even though I had the right of way but then it became normal to just to let the traffic dart around you (death defying but normal):
The Independence Day celebration that started Sept. 2nd continued throughout the weekend. For the first time, old downtown Hanoi was shut down to traffic so that they could celebrate:
We also visited Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum, a major attraction in Hanoi. He is the father of communism and revered here:
Ho Chi Minh's body is preserved in a cool, central hall protected by a military honour guard. The body lies in a glass case with dim lights and the lineup is huge, stretching outside and around the corner. Just as an aside, the body is flown to Russia every year for a complete embalming overhaul, much like China's Mao embalmed body in Tiananmen Square.
This is a communist country and over 75% of the people here have no religious affiliation at all. After being bombarded by the thousands and thousands of temples and shrines we saw in the last 4 countries, it was a different feeling seeing so little of it here in Hanoi; maybe there will be more in other parts of the country.