Growing up, I’ve always had a soft spot for literature. I was a sucker for stories and I lapped them up when I had the chance, reading whatever I can get my hands on. At that time, I loved it as much as I loathed Maths. (The fact that I ended up in a profession involving numbers is beside the point.) The library is the closest thing that we can have to a place-dedicated-to-literature. I swear, if my country had something that’s also called a “temple of literature”, you’d have probably found me there. Worshipping. Daily.
I’ve always seen museums as the best place for a crash course. Like, say, you don’t know much about a person, place, or incident, (and you don’t feel like going through tons of narrative or listening to a lecturer go on for hours about it), then GO TO A MUSEUM. I’d be honest, though, and say that museum visits are low on my list of things to do, especially when visiting a new place. But curiosity wins out in the end, and this one in particular was conveniently located, so I thought it made sense to check out Ho Chi Minh Museum. Read more
OK. Things are getting way too summery, so let’s buckle down a bit. According to CNN’s 2012 ranking on the “Top 10 Ugliest Buildings in the World“, sixth on the list is the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam. I wonder what they based the ranking on, since I was going through the list, and I wondered if I had to have some technical know-how on architecture and construction, because most of them looked pretty OK to me. That ranking did not seem to have an effect really, since it hardly made a dent on the high level of interest that the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum generated – and continues to generate – to this day. Read more
Say “Baguio City” and “Burnham Park” isn’t likely to be mentioned far behind and, along with it, Burnham Lake. These two have become practically staples for anyone visiting Baguio City, especially for the first time. The same thing goes for the nearby town of La Trinidad; if you are in the area, you just have to check out the Strawberry Fields in Km. 6. Well, what about Hanoi? That staple would be Hoan Kiem Lake and, by default, the Ngoc Son Temple. Read more
You don’t have to be an “artist” to be able to appreciate “art”, considering how there seems to be hundreds of art forms out there. So you can’t carry a tune? You have two left feet? That doesn’t mean you can’t tell a very good performance from a ho-hum one. That means you don’t have to be a puppeteer – or a puppet – to appreciate the art of puppeteering. Or making puppets carry out a theatrical performance. Read more
A word of warning: if you’re visiting Vietnam to get a glimpse of its culture and history, let me tell you, IT IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. If you’re thinking of having a vacation that’s all peach-and-roses and sunshine-and-rainbows, then you’ve come to the wrong place. You see, behind the rustic beauty and understated elegance, there’s like an air of heaviness surrounding the place. You can try to stick only to the glitzy and bright areas, but there’s always that shadow following you. So to get rid of that elephant in the room, you should just face it head-on and stare it in the face. Like we did, when we checked out Maison Centrale, also known as the Hoa Lo Prison.
Finally getting around to continuing my Vietnam travel series, which was put on hold because of RL. Out here in my little corner of the world, it gets colder and colder. When the temperature drops to a chilly 7.4 degrees Celsius, I tend to forget that I am living in a tropical country. But between this chill and the scorching, burning and sweat-inducing heat of summer, you know what I’d pick, right?