----- Forwarded Message ----
From: inna bakker <innabakker@gmail.com>
Sent: July , 2007 11:54:57 AM
Subject: #  5 Northern Viet Nam - capital Ha Noi .

Dear family and friends

we are in Ha Noi for 3 days,  it is a city of millions people, millions motobikes, a lot of lakes, parks, interesting museums, old and new French  and Asian charms,

we visited Ho Chi Min's Masoleum, saw long, long lines of locals, many soldiers around, a lot of rules and regulations,  he is a real cult here as a country unifier and a founder of a Comunist Party, it was a bitter reminder of my past life  in the Soviet Union, in a very good Museum of Ethnography they show how  comunist economy of 1975 - 1986 with it's idea of  collective rice paddys, rationing coupons and government subsidies  made population very poor and hungry, so in 1986  they changed to free  enterprise, trying to promote investments and so far  economy is much better but it is still one party country,

very busy and commercial Old Quater is at  the same place over 1000 years,

i went to  a unique Women's Museum where they honor Vietnamese Mothers who work very hard to give their children education and  children  in turn study very hard to earn respect of their parents [ notice the language ]  and dedicated to taking care of parents,  i was so moved, i cryed, i thought-- at least these mothers did not do emigration  and did not have to study very hard themselves,

we had a boat ride to spectacular Ha Long Bay few hours north of Hanoi  where are a lot of mountains coming out of ocean, it reminded me area  North of Oakland in New Zealand , truly  spectacular, we saw Water P uppets performance  which is typicaly Vietnamese, we went to Temple of Literature which is a first University opened in 11 th century to worship Confucio and to educate sons of Mandarins,

i took a photo of a Monument to McCain as a paratrooper coming down, we had a tour of  aPOW'  prison which Americans called - Hilton.  in the center  of the city is a  magnificent 500 seats Opera House built by French and  modeled after Paris Opera, people are very pleasant  with mild asian manners, love tourists and seems country is doing well,

next i am taking an overnight  train North West  of Hanoi to Sapa--look at the map.

love to all.