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Archive for February, 2015

Hanoi and The University for Mandarins- Quoc Tu Giam.

First built in 1076, this University only opened its doors to the sons of mandarins. The magnificent marble and stone effaces are in red symbolizing power and wealth.IMG_2029

Photo: The elaborate entrance into University for Mandarins- Quoc Tu Giam.  

In the 15th Century sees the introduction of the practice of carving names of new graduates onto stones slabs.


Photo: Carving names of new graduates from 1694 until 1736




Photo: proud graduate in University for Mandarins

Today, proud graduates still go to the university to have their photographs taken and for some to have their names included on the book of scholars.


Photo: proud graduate in University for Mandarins.

Note to Self

Hanoi is one big city. Of about 6.5 million people, so please accept my rendition as a glimpse of a tiny proportion of it.

Hopefully you will find it as a useful Tour Guide nonetheless.

In the next few blogs,  I will share my experience The Old Quarter and its 36 Streets; The Museum of Ethnology; Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and  Tai Chi.

I hope as a guest to this beautiful city I will do justice, to its past and its people who warmly welcomed us with stories and cups of  fresh green tea by  the roadside.



Our journey in Vietnam begins: Hanoi here we come

Our journey in Vietnam begins: Hanoi here we come.

Our journey in Vietnam begins: Hanoi here we come

Hanoi: a city with ancient origins.

In 2010, Hanoi’s 1000 birthday is celebrated with a spectacular infusion of color and dance. History tells us that in 1010 A.D Emperor Ly Thai To moves here, establishing a capital, calling it Thang Long, translated as The City of Soaring Dragons.

This is beautifully told by the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater in 57B Dinh Tien Hoanng  St, Hoan Keim District (

Picture: singers at Thang Long Water Puppet TheatreIMG_1995

The water surface conceals the puppeteers as the puppets glide, jump, dance and dive into the water. It’s unlike anything I have ever seen before,

In 1802 the Emperor Gia Long moves the capital of his dynasty to Hue and Thang Long, is demoted to regional capital.

In 1831 the Emperor Tu Duc renames Thang Long Hanoi, which means bend in the river.

I question how these Emperors can have such absolute power

Pictures:  Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre


Temple of Literature provides insights.

The Vietnamese trace their roots back to the rice paddy fields in Red River Delta, resisting Chinese domination since 2nd century BC.

The Chinese bring with them a culture rich in Buddhism, Taoism and the principles of Confucianism.

Confucius lives in China between 551 and 495 BC. His doctrines in brief, provide a moral and ethical code of behavior, where rules of conduct are adhered too, absolutely without question.

All work is carried out with total dedication for the good of  God, Emperor, Community and Family.Individual needs, wants or desires are held in abeyance which stabilizes a Feudal society.IMG_2032

Photo:  Principles of Confucianism in Van Mieu IMG_2036

Photo: Confucius shrine – Van Mieu.

Also, in the Temple of Literature is the University for Mandarins- Quoc Tu Giam. 

I will tell you all about it in the next post so stay tuned

I’m back. A returned traveler from Vietnam and Cambodia

On departure I had no expectations, preconceived ideas, ideologies or beliefs.

My search from the beginning of this blog at the start of 2014 is to find God.

Now I am traveling to a country whom, if I am to believe what historians tell me, has turned its back on God.

We shall see.

I have tons of photographs, so at times I will let the pictures do the talking for me, thus providing useful as Travel Guide to Vietnam and Cambodia.

I started with nothing and ended up with so much more I invite you to travel with me as I share my story with you.IMG_2133


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