Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature is a temple dedicated to Confucius, built in the 11th century and expanded and restored over the years. It hosts Vietnam's first national university which was established to educate the nation's bureaucrats, nobles and royalty. Eventually it was abandoned when the capital (and Imperial Academy) was moved to Hue in the 18th century, to be finally restored by the French as a historical monument.

It is within walking distance from the old quarter so we decided not to catch a taxi and take in the sites of the streets of Hanoi. Progress is pretty slow with two small children in tow, especially if you pass 5 toy shops on the way. We still had a third of the way to go when we stopped for lunch.

Finally we got there and went inside. It is a lovely complex, though the first few courtyards are overrun with tourists. At the back Lucas was impressed by a huge drum the size of a small house, though the highlight of the tour was the ice creams. They also had a great time tying their fleeces round their necks like a cape and flying around being superman (and woman). I got saved from a volcano, a snake, a crocodile and 8 baddies. I don't know what Confucius would have thought of it.

Outside we got in a taxi and noticed the meter was clocking up like it had had too many Vietnamese coffees so we told the driver to stop. Had an argument, paid him what the meter said, and got in another taxi. Foolish us for getting into a taxi waiting outside a tourist attraction. At least after the Saigon experience we can catch them early.

We were trying to get to a theme park on the West lake, but our taxi driver hadn't heard of it and we didn't have the proper address. The West lake is huge, so it was going to be like finding a needle in a haystack. Went to a cafe to grab some WiFi and, third taxi lucky, got to the place. Unlucky really, it was closed. We still had a backup plan, a shopping centre with a play area. Vowed never to promise the kids rides ever again. With all this rushing around we didn't get time to see the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum complex (closed on Monday's, bu we just wanted to see if from the outside). Maybe tomorrow.

One last adventure before bedtime: Aisha vomited during dinner. It was a pretty controlled affair and I think most people didn't even notice, lucky them. She doesn't look ill or anything, it was completely out of the blue (well, pink actually as she had beet eating ketchup).

Lesson learnt today: if fruit sellers spontaneously offer you all their gear for a photo op they will suddenly insist you buy loads of fruit off them. We just told them no way Jose; got a free cool photo and serves them right for being so cheeky. I realise they are poorer than us (though they aren't exactly desperate) but that tactic is out of order.

No comments:

Post a Comment