communism in action
Today's activities included going to see a dead dude preserved behind some glass. Before we got to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum though, we had to contend with some serious communist bureaucracy - we could only approach the mausoleum from a certain side, and a very anxious soldier whistled and waved at us until we had walked three sides of a square, and were deemed to be approaching from the correct side. Once there, it was a long but speedy queue - the body is only viewable between 8.30am and 10.30am, so the soldiers kept us moving swiftly on. Actually, the body itself was rather weird, but then again, I'm not much one for preservation like that. Much more for cremations, if you ask me. Formaldehyde just isn't a good look.
After being hustled through the serious one way system that comprises of the Mausoleum and its grounds, we wandered through the Ho Chi Minh Museum. Now this was hilarious. There seemed to be no rhyme nor reason to any of the exhibits - artists names such as Picasso and Chagall, with no examples of their work, and then random plastic sculptures alongside examples of Uncle Ho's speeches. An extremely Vietnamese experience.
I'm not sure if this is an example of communism in action, but there doesn't seem to be much of an idea of commerical competition here. By this I mean that if there is one paint shop on a street, there are ten. I know that if I was going to open a paint shop, then I wouldn't pick the place where there already were a whole bunch of them - I'd look somewhere else to fill the hole in the market. This hasn't yet occured to the Vietnamese, but like I said, it might be something to do with all that communism.