March, 2015

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by Harumi Okochi.
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Students were dancing.

 Good morning Vietnam!

 What does the word 'Vietnam' remind you? In my case, it is the terrible war.
In January this year, my husband offered me a trip to Vietnam. But I didn't go with him.
This is my husband's photo journal of his 8 days' trip. He took thousand photos, and this time we will focus on Hue alone, and show you some of them.
I hope you will enjoy.

 Ⅰ To Hue  
   From Da Nang to Hue, I took an express train.
 Ⅱ Tour to the Royal Tombs  
   To see the Royal Tombs of Nguyen Dynasty, I reserved a seat on the Open Bus.
The Tomb of the second Emperor MinhMang was built using the natural land form.
This place is also a park for citizens.
   Hoang Trach Gate
   The sepulcher of the Emperor is on the hill at the farthest zone.
Tomb of Khai Dinh (1916-1925)
A western style architecture. It took 12 years to build this house from 1931, under French rule. Ladder and dragon-shaped handrails.
   Stone statues in the courtyard of the tomb.
   Mountain view from the tomb.
   Sarcophagus of Emperor Khai Dinh
Tomb of Tu Duc, the 4th Emperor.
The longest reign (1847-1883).
This tomb was ready before his death, and while he was alive, it was used as his villa.
Entering the gate, we see a pond, and alongside the water, we proceed to the building.
   I saw Jack fruits ripening.
   Hoa Khiem Palace
   Xung Khiem Pavilion
 Ⅲ Thien Mu Temple  
Thien Mu Pagoda, built in 1601.
7 storied, octagonal shape.
This means happiness and blessing.
   Inside the temple, I saw small monks were praying.
   From the temple, I got on a sight-seeing boat to go back to the city.
 Ⅳ Royal Palace  
Nguyen Dynasty's Palace was built on the northern bank of the Huong River. It was designed imitating the Forbidden City of China . It is surrounded by walls and has 4 gates.
The war destroyed most of the buildings, and they are now under re-construction.
This photo is the Flag Tower.
   The Ngo Mon Gate
   Thai Hoa Palace
The center of the palace.
Enthronement or important ceremonies were done here.
   The Gold Lion of Thai Hoa Palace
   Inside of the To MieuTemple
  The Corridor
 Ⅴ Old city zone  
   Hue Royal Fine-Arts Museum
It was Sunday afternoon, but I saw no other guest there.
Mother-of-pearl work furniture and costumes were quite impressive.
Tong Hop Thwa Thien Hue Museum
In the yard, we see tanks or planes of US military at the time of Vietnam War.
   Tinh Gia Vien
A restaurant where you can have court cuisine. Sunday afternoon it was, and I was embarrassed because there was no other guests. But the owner welcomed me.
  Bonsai ( potted tree) is popular in Vietnam.
The big, well designed pot is one of the owner's prides.
   Colorful court cuisine.
  I asked the owner to allow me taking her picture.
She changed into traditional Hue color dress and hat.
 Ⅵ Common life  
Outside of the castle walls, we can see common life.
Near the Dong Ba Bus terminal.
   Vegetable market
   Fish market
   Common houses
 Ⅶ New city zone  
This district used to be French reservation.
The Hotel Saigon Morin was built in 1901 by Frenchmen. I enjoyed my stay here.
   From my window, I could look down the park by the river.
   In the hotel yard, the famous Hue court music was performed.
   The Hurong River, seen from the new city zone.
   Truong Tien Bridge connects the old and new city zones.
   From Hue to my next destination Hoi An, I took a two-storied bus. The 4 hours' trip was comfortable thanks to the bed-chair.

    This time, I showed you the photos of Hue only.
Vietnam is a country of deep enchantment and interest. I hope I can visit here once again with my wife, if she says yes.

How did you like the photos?
I remember the movie "Good Morning, Vietnam!" very well. The musical "Miss Saigon" was also quite impressive. "Born on July the 4th", "Forrest Gump"........, well, I liked them. They are all right.
But, "Apocalypse Now".....it terrified me. Even now, many years later since I saw the movie, I remember some horrible scenes vividly, and they kept me from visiting Vietnam with a light mind.
Maybe one day, I will have courage enough to visit Vietnam with my body-guard husband. Then I will pray for peace at the Thien Mu Temple with the small monks. How I wish to see them!

Thank you very much for joining me.
I hope you will visit us again next month.

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