Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi

ho-1

Following up on my friend Lisa‘s suggestion, I created a Best-of page for this site today. It’s been long overdue and has been on my mind since right about the time I snapped this photo of the mausoleum of Vietnamese revolutionary hero Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi back in October 2010.

I included a link to a post about my visit to the massive mausoleum, I Wanted to Visit Ho Chi Minh Today, But he Wasn’t There, on that Best-of/Start page, which led to this one’s selection as today’s Pic du Jour, the 412th straight.

So where was he? My visit coincided with his embalmed body’s ten-week respite and annual maintenance trip to Moscow. The facelift is generally scheduled between September and mid-December, so if seeing his body is high on your bucket list, plan accordingly.

Three more photos are in the original post. More from my 2010 visit to Vietnam can be found here.

 

 

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At the Vietnamese People’s Air Force Museum

A military support vehicle at the vast junkyard known as the Vietnamese People’s Air Force Museum, or Bảo Tàng Phòng Không – Không Quân, in Hanoi. More photos and info about the museum is here.

Today’s Pic du Jour, the 320th straight, was snapped in Hanoi, Vietnam on 27-Oct-2010.

 

Singing 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' at the Thanh Xuan Peace Village in Hanoi

Wars Never End – an Annual Reminder (Pic du Jour)

Today’s Pic du Jour is part of what has become an annual reminder that wars never end.

It’s from a post about an October 2010 visit —four years ago yesterday— to the Thanhxuan Peace Village, or Lang Hoa Binh Than Xuan, an orphanage, school and clinic in Hanoi set up specifically for victims of Agent Orange, which has now reached its third generation. Rarely a day passes that I don’t think about that afternoon on the fringes of the Vietnamese capital. I hope the kids are doing well.

I realize that this is fading gradually from memory into history, so a brief précis:

From 1961 through 1971, United States military forces dumped 20 million gallons, or about 80 million liters, of Agent Orange, a chemical defoliant containing an especially virulent form of dioxin, on southern Vietnam. Manufactured by Monsanto and Dow Chemical, it was housed in 55 gallon barrels adorned by orange stripes, thus its name. The operation ultimately left nearly five million people infected with dioxin. Estimates vary, but on the conservative side of things, some 150,000 Vietnamese children today live with the fallout.

Please take a few minutes to check out the rest of the post — Agent Orange’s Golden Anniversary –and as always, feel free to share.

Waiting for the lunch rush, Hanoi

Waiting for the Lunch Rush, Hanoi

Anyone who’s worked in the food service industry will appreciate this calm before the proverbial storm.

I like quite a bit about this image: the bright blue ‘childrens’ chairs, the woman yawning, the confident matron reading her paper, the bit of calm in an otherwise frenetic city. And the memory it provides of a fantastic lunch.

The finest street food on the planet? In my experience in 53 countries, nothing tops Vietnam. That proclamation doesn’t, however, mean that my research is anywhere close to being concluded.

Today’s Pic du Jour, the 237th (!!) straight, was snapped in Hanoi on 18 October 2010. Please click on the image to see the full uncropped version.

Specs:
ISO 200
40mm
f 5.6
1/125

Sidewalk breakfast, Hanoi, Vietnam

Breakfast With a Smile, Hanoi

The vivid memory of this woman’s smile greeted me when I woke up this morning. I have no idea what provoked it but I didn’t fight it. There are worse images that can clutter a mind when one starts the day.

The recollection left me no choice but to hunt this photo down and give it pride of place here as today’s Pic du Jour, the 191st straight (!). I spotted her at the edge of Hanoi’s Old Quarter as she was preparing breakfast for what I assume was her family. It smelled delicious. I’m sure it was, too.

Please click the image to see the full uncropped version.

Hanoi, Vietnam, 23-Oct-2010
Pineapple vendor Hanoi

Pic du Jour: Pineapple Vendor, Hanoi

Pineapple vendor Hanoi

Today’s Pic du Jour –the 75th(!) straight since this project was re-inaugurated– features a woman prepping for her morning pineapple sales route, snapped just a few minutes before she sold me my breakfast baggie.

This is for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge which asked for illustrations of Street Life. In Hanoi it starts humming at about 6 am.

Hanoi, Vietnam, 24-Oct-2010
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thanhxuan-01

Agent Orange’s Golden Anniversary, Revisited

That unfortunate anniversary actually came two years ago this month, but I trust you’ll allow me the indulgence of reblogging this to coincide with Agent Orange Awareness Month. It’s a post about my October 2010 visit to the Thanhxuan Peace Village, or Lang Hoa Binh Than Xuan, an orphanage, school and clinic in Hanoi set up specifically for victims of Agent Orange, now on its third generation. Rarely a day passes that I don’t think about that afternoon on the fringes of Hanoi.

From 1961 through 1971, United States military forces dumped 20 million gallons, or about 80 million liters, of Agent Orange, a chemical defoliant containing an especially virulent form of dioxin, on southern Vietnam. Manufactured by Monsanto and Dow Chemical, it was housed in 55 gallon barrels adorned by orange stripes, thus its name.

The operation ultimately left nearly five million people infected with dioxin. Estimates vary, but on the conservative side of things, some 150,000 Vietnamese children today live with the fallout.

Please take a few minutes to check out the rest of the post — Agent Orange’s Golden Anniversary –and as always, feel free to share.

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Recuerdo Profundo by Jimenez Deredia

Circles, in the Round

Recuerdo Profundo by Jimenez Deredia

In her travel theme this week, Ailsa asked for circles. Who am I to say no?

I threw in a few orbs and spheres, too, beginning with Jimenez Deredia’s phenomenal chocolatey sculpture, Recuerdo Profundo, which I was fortunate enough to see near the Colosseum in Rome in July 2009. A few more snaps from that exhibit are on my flickr stream here.

Istanbul, March 2012

This one I found near the Galata Bridge in Istanbul. What’s not to love about this version of the Crescent Star?

Musee Olympique, Lausanne, 31-Aug-2008

There are lots of circles to be found at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne that have nothing to do with the five rings. Above is the view up from the library level.

Sticking with the Olympic theme, this is a bit of graffiti decorating some shrapnel damage to a wall of the 1984 Olympic bobsled run on Trebević Mountain just outside of Sarajevo. The hour or so I spent there, strolling down the destroyed and graffiti-covered run with just the sounds of forest birds and bugs as a soundtrack, remains the most surreal I’ve experienced in recent memory. There’s a high-speed video –and a few more pics– of that stroll here.

1984 Olympic Bobsled run, Trebević Mountain, near Sarajevo.

Vietnamese People’s Air Force Museum Hanoi, 27-Oct-2010

This is at the Vietnamese People’s Air Force Museum, or Bảo Tàng Phòng Không – Không Quân, in Hanoi. How many of these countries still exist? Below, a ‘Do Not Enter’ variation, seen in Paris.

Fun with road signs. Paris, April 2012

Istanbul, 14-Mar-2012

Above, Istanbul again, fresh catch caught from the Galata Bridge. Below was taken in London this past August, just before I watched this guy getting man-handled by private cops.

London, Aug 2012

Shanghai, May 201

This is a 10-second exposure taken inside the Bund Tourist Tunnel that runs under the Huangpu River in Shanghai. It’s hideously tacky but a fun place to take long-exposures. There are four more here.

Dicobole Lancant le Disque, by Mathieu Kessels

We return briefly to the Olympic theme with Mathieu Kessels’ Discus Thrower at the Royal Museum of Art in Brussels and conclude in Shanghai with these orbs that you’ll see when you exit the hideously tacky Bund Tourist Tunnel. Full circle.

Shanghai, May 2010

Now, go check out more circles, spheres and orbs at Ailsa’s Weekly Challenge here.

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