|Went to Ba Dinah Square where Ho Chi Minh proclaimed independence in July 1945 from the Japanese occupation. On the way to the square we passed the lake where John McCain crashed after being shot down in the war. They have renamed it John McCain Lake and placed a monument at the lake. Our guide told us that McCain (and John Kerry) are both held in high regard for their efforts to normalize relations between Vietnam and the United States.
Upon arrival at the square we went through several security checkpoints before being admitted to Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum where his body has been preserved and is on display. People view “Uncle Ho” as the founding father of modern day Vietnam and he is highly revered, especially here in northern Vietnam. In the square we also went to the One Pillar Pagoda built in 1049 by emperor Ly Thai Tong.
Next it was on to the Temple of Literature which was dedicated to Confucius in 1070. It is Vietnam’s oldest monuments to education and the site of one of the world’s earliest universities. Finally we visited the Women’s Museum which documents the history and culture of women in Vietnam through stories, photos, art, displays and videos.
We has a very nice farewell dinner with our six fellow travelers who extended their stay in Vietnam to include Hanoi. It was also an opportunity to thank our excellent guide, Cain, for his insightful observation and history and cultural lessons about Vietnam.