Friday, October 31, 2008

Museums, Street Flooding, & Flowers, 10/31

I will start this blog with five pictures Josh Strenger provided from the Fansipan trip. He is preparing a narrative to go with them, and I will add that when I get it.

Starting out (above and right)

On the trail (left)

At summit (below)

The picture above reaquires a little more explanation. There is a metal shelter where they spent the night on the mountain. When they arrived at the shelter, it was occupied by several Buddhist monks on a retreat. So most of the students ended up sleeping in a tent, and fighting to stay dry all night. However, the monks did invite everyone in to visit, and here Julia is being healed by one of the monks.
Friday we visited the History Museum, and the Museum of the Revolution. The History Museum is a combination of sociology, anthropology, and archeology museum for Vietnam, and goes from prehistoric times up to the formation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945. You have seen lots of pictures of students looking studiously at displays, so I didn't take any more this time. However, I couldn't resist taking this picture of Josh trying to interact with one of his murky ancestors. In the process of posing, he almost proved the "Domino Theory" conclusively.

The Museum of the Revolution chronicles the resistance and independence movements from the first colonization by France, through the end of the American conflict. There are also rooms dedicated to post reunification industrialization, including a cut-away model of the Hoa Binh Power Station that we visited. There is also one room tucked off in a corner at the very end dedicated to Russia, showing pictures of leaders of the Communist Party from the revolution through Putin. There the labels are just in Vietnamese and Russian, and it doesn't seem to have much to do with the rest of the museum. Two sculptures in the museum stood out for me. The first is of a young boy acting as a messenger between camps in the Viet Bac region of Viet Nam (northeast section near the Chinese border). This is the region from which the Viet Minh leadership, including Ho Chi Minh, conducted operations during the French Indochina War (1946-54). The leadership fled here after the French reoccupied the north and Hanoi, making it quite obvious that they didn't want any part of Vietnamese independence. The messengers carried communications between camps when the conventional modes (radio or telephone) were either not available, or too dangerous to use. The French were never able to locate and go after the leadership, although they conducted several operations against supply depots and isolated camps. Sounds eerily familiar to the U.S. attempts to eliminate the Viet Cong and National Liberation Front leadership from the Iron Triangle and Parrot's Beak areas near Saigon. Getting back to the sculpture, is is typical of those honoring "Heros of the Revolution" that we have seen in many of the museums we have visited.

The other sculpture that stood out for me was one of Ho Chi Minh, done in 1968, a year before he died. The title is "Uncle Ho Translates History of Communist Party." It doesn't say what language he is translating from, but I would guess Russian, although he was also involved in the formation of the Communist Party in France soon after the finish of WWI. It emphasizes the intellectual aspects of Ho, rather than hia being a revolutionary leader.

It had been raining heavily all morning. When we headed back from the museums we were greeted by scenes of flooded streets. The rains kept up all day, and it is still raining on Saturday as I post this blog. The student's wisely decided to postpone their Haloween party, so I'll try to add some pictures from that in the next post. News reports this morning say that the rain is the heaviest this region has received in 35 years, and attribute several deaths to the storms. South of here one Province received 10.6 inches of rain, and that doesn't include what has fallen today. We are all safe and sound, but the students are not going to be able to get out and do much on their first free weekend of the term. Some of the areas we visited last week have, or are predicted to have, flooding problems. We were very lucky in the timing of our trip.

Since I don't have a lot of pictures to post this week, the remainder of this post will be devoted to a much more pleasant subject than flooding, flowers. I have been saving pictures as we went along. These are all pictures I have taken at places we have visited, and in many cases they are not in any type of formal garden, just along the way. I don't know all of the names of the flowers, so will not try to annotate them. The only repeats are two pictures of different colored hydrangeas, and three pictures of lotus blossoms at the end, because they look so different as the flower opens. Hope you enjoy.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home