May 31, 2019

Travelogue - Hanoi


One thing that you should do in Halong Bay is to take care of your smart phone while taking photos. The number of smart phones that are underneath the bay is substantial !  - Remarked our guide while guiding us through one of the most exquisite wonders of nature.

The volcanic formations & caves that surround the bay makes you marvel at nature's creative ability. Same with the scenic locations in Tam-Coc . Both these places are a day's trip from Hanoi.

The city has a European feel with the central Hoan Kiem lake & surrounding areas on Fridays & Saturdays filled with performing artists, typically seen in many European cities. Neat and clean compared to typical Asian cities, Hanoi is typical of a capital city. Well paved & laid out roads, grand buildings with colonial backgrounds, historical figures - There is a Confucius Temple as well in the city.  Travelling through the city gives you a feel of Lutyen's Delhi, but with smaller roads.

If people in Ho Chi Minh City exhibited murmurs about the communist rule with Chinese Oligarchs controlling most businesses, Hanoi was quite the opposite. The anti-American feeling is quite strong. Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum is kept in Hanoi as an icon of the victory over imperialism .

Quite paradoxically, if there is one person that Vietnamese should be really thanking for the last two to three years economic boom, it should be Donald Trump. From the thriving metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City to the touristy Hanoi, large electronics manufacturers with factories in China are making a beeline to Vietnam to escape the ramifications of trade war.

I felt Hanoi is like a beacon of hope that the last vestiges of communism slowly transforms into a liberal , yet socially conscious society and not into an orthodox communist abyss like North Korea.  The society is liberal, there are strong elements of social care, yet there is plenty of capitalistic businesses embracing all the modern business practices but all entrenched with a strong dislike for America

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