It’s so hot today so what do you decide to do with 4 kids! Go and see the most famous and most respected man of Vietnam – Mr Ho Chi Minh inside his marble mausoleum in Hanoi. Ho Chi Minh died from heart failure in 1969 and he was the leader of the revolution to rid the French from Vietnam and then the Americans. He died before he got to see the outcome of independence.
The mausoleum is free to visit, and many of the visitors are Vietnamese people honoring their freedom leader, but there is a major security process for us all to go through – no bags allowed, no singlets or shorts on adults so we had to cover up with shawls, then cameras and personal belongings are sent through an x-Ray machine while you walk through a metal detector radar, then they place your camera/iPad in a bag to take to another holding place while we get in a long line, that moves fast into the mausoleum.
Guards dressed in full white uniforms are strategically placed everywhere with whistles if you walk too close to the red line outside. Steve was asked to remove his sunglasses (and to stop talking!). As we entered through the main entrance to the mausoleum the air turned icy cold (much relief from the heat and unrelenting sun) and it darkened as we headed up some stairs following the long snake of visitors in front of us and for a whole minute we looked at Ho Chi Minh while walking around with the hands-on help of the white guards in his glass encased wooden tomb lying down with his hands on his chest, his famous long white beard still intact. He looked peaceful and quite pale. No wonder since he’s been dead for 53 years.
It was an amazing experience. Then we came out and the heat hit us all for six! Dacey and Ashley were crying when we walked out the front area that looked and felt more like a tarmac. The sun was too bright and stung our eyes. We got a couple of shots, but then we were amassed upon by a group of Asian travelers who just think Billie and especially Dacey are the best people to get a photo with. We think they’re famous somewhere in Asia! The women look at the girls and touch their pink cheeks and get photos taken with them. At least that stopped the crying.