by Tommy ’17
Today was our last day at our host family. We had a huge breakfast and then headed out to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum. It was pouring all morning and we got soaked. I was feeling cold and tired, but it was fascinating to see Ho Chi Min’s body so perfectly preserved. Then we walked around his modest house near the mausoleum. The Ho Chi Minh museum was next; it was pretty interesting, but slightly boring, although I saw lots of relics of Ho Chi Minh about him before the French took over the country and during the “American War.” (Actually, I was too busy thinking how I was going to dry out my clothes to be fully engaged in the museum.)
We headed to the Temple of Literature which was amazing. The Temple of Literature was created by one of the Emperors before the 1100 so that his sons could be educated. It expanded over the centuries and now is a museum. There are marble tortoises with tablets on their backs on which are inscribed the names of the outstanding students and their teachers. My favorite part was the lotus pond. The flowers and leaves were so beautiful. They reminded me of a desktop screen saver.
It was also cool to see the different number of ethnic houses on display at the Museum of Ethnology. We saw many artifacts and learned about customs in different areas of the country according to the ethnic group. There are 54 ethnic groups here in Vietnam. The one that we will see soon in Mai Chau is called the White Thai.
The highlight of the day was the Military Museum. There were huge planes in the courtyard, and many other artifacts, tanks, etc. We saw a large structure created from recovered parts of planes, artillery, and other warfare memorabilia.
I been feeling pretty tired lately, but hopefully a good night’s sleep will fix that.