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Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Hilton and more Han Oi








07 September, 2008, 5:45pm ish

The Hanoi Hilton- Now let me see if I got all this straight... The Hoa Lo Prison was built at the end of the 19th centurary by the French and used as a prison camp for Vietnamese who didn't agree with the French party line. They treated the Vietnamese prisoners very badly, executing many, detaining them under horrific conditions with little water and food. Prisoners were not allowed to pray, or share their own opinions, and were endured "savage treatment" at the hands of the French. They received little to no medical care and were tortured. However, the Vietnamese, having been recipients of these inhumane conditions, felt compelled to use the facility differently when prisoners of war, Americans, were later detained here during the "American War." (i.e. Vietnam War for you Caucasians) During this time of detainment, the American POWs were given wonderful medical care, received care packages from their families and the Red Cross, played basketball in brand new Converse All Star high tops, volleyball, and had a recreational hall where they could all get together and talk and support one another. They even celebrated Xmas with a decorated Xmas tree and church services! As a matter of fact, the place was so lovely that the soldiers nicknamed it the Hanoi Hilton, kinda like being on vacation and going to a hotel! This was a very very generous and benevolent thing for the "democratic socialist" Vietnamese gov't to do since it was these very American soldiers that were trying to carpet bomb innocent Vietnamese women and children. I saw all of it pictures at the Hanoi Hilton, and it's all in print so it must be true!

The Temple of Litterature was beautiful and such a serene place in the middle of this bustling loud chaotic city with koi ponds and pagodas and gardens. It is a tourist attraction for many people including school field trips and families on vacation from all over Asia. It was a “university” built in the 11th century. I wish we had more time to spend there, but both babies were pretty sweaty, hot and getting cranky.

The Vietnamese mamas in this city are more forth right with their opinions of my mothering skills. So far, I don't put on the baby's hat on fast enough when we leave the taxi, and Little Man is burning up with fever because he's cutting teeth. Surely there's more to come, and I just smile and try to look like an inept white-girl who knows little to nothing 'bout parenting children and so appreciates the unsolicited advice.

Melissa- yes, I thought it was funny too! Now if they only would have given us the baby manual too!

Stacey- Thx for the suggestion on switching rooms. Papa's looking into it right now. Where's the quilt store? Do you have an address???

Sunny-Glad you skipped the meeting. No bother at all.

1 comment:

  1. Here's the address:
    Hà-Nôi: vietnam-quilts@vnn.vn
    16 Hàng Tre, Hoàn Kiêm.
    Tel.: +84(04) 926.36.82
    You will love looking at all of the quilts and other things they make. It is a great cause too. They do the quilts in all different colors and custom make them. I bought a lot of quilts and really love the quality. I have washed one of them at least 25 times (potty training) and it looks just like when I bought it.
    There was a really nice lady from Australia who ran the store when I was there. She is great.
    Stacey and Sasha

    ReplyDelete

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