Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
by Don Ricardo
Hanmer Springs, New Zealand
July 24, 2008
Metro Manila, Philippines
January 21, 2007
From journal Honeymoon in Hanoi
December 22, 2005
Everybody has a special moment or moments to remember from a particular holiday, and one of mine was a breakfast of eggs and bacon with orange juice in Hanoi. And you might very well wonder what was so special with Vietnamese bacon or eggs. Let me explain.
After we arrived in mid-afternoon in Hanoi and settled in the comfortable and very inexpensive accommodation that we booked using our Rough Guide, and we had a good night out clubbing in Apocalypse Now, smoking Cuban cigars, and getting acquainted with some very interesting Vietnamese ladies. Things never went too far, and conversation was a bit of a struggle, but we all had a good laugh nevertheless. Next morning, we had to solve the eternal problem of supplying food to our empty stomachs, and as we started venturing in the streets of Hanoi, we ended in the banks of Hoam Kiem lake, at the southeastern corner of which is the Dinh Lang restaurant. We had a quick look in the menu, and the familiar sight of eggs and bacon was sufficient to convince us to stay. The restaurant was empty, and we chose a table facing the lake. And then the magic started.
The proprietor had some soft, soothing Vietnamese music on his CD player, and clouds of mist moving and lifting were like curtains drawn and pulled, lifting and hiding the majestic views of the lake. At the same time, you could see some elderly folk practising tai chi in slow motion, almost coordinated with the music of our proprietor. For the next hour or so, the West was so far away, and the Great Orient had taken over. And the words of Frenchman Jolaud Barral sprung to mind: “Saigon and Singapore is where one exists. Hanoi is where one lives.” The photo below was NOT taken that magic morning .
From journal HaNoi-The Pearl of Indochina
April 5, 2002
The name which translates as "Lake Of The Restored Sword" comes from a local variation of the Excalibur legend with a 15th century local fisherman netting a fabulous shining sword while fishing on the lake and using it to drive the Chinese out of Vietnam. When Le Loi now King Le Thai To (r. 1433-1442) returned to the lake to pay tribute, a large tortoise arose from the lake and swallowed the sword returning it to the depths. This divine restoration is commemorated by the red star topped Tortoise Pagoda on a small island in the middle of the lake which has become the emblem of Hanoi.
Giant Tortoises do still live in the lake but it is highly unlikely to see one except for the 2 meter long preserved specimen captured in 1968 that takes pride of place in the Den Ngoc Son ("Temple Of The Jade Mound") that sits on another of the lake's islands. The temple established in the Tran Dynasty (1225-1400) is dedicated Tran Hung Dao a general who defeated the Mongols in 1288 and a number of the leading intellectuals of his time including scholar Van Xuong, physician La To and martial artist Quan Vu. Last restored in 1865 most of the current buildings date to this time.
The entrance to the complex, the Tam Quan ("Three Passage Gate") is flanked by Chinese letters Phuc ("Luck") and Loc ("Wealth") based on the hand-writing of the 19th-century Confucian scholar Nguyen Van Sieu. Just inside the gate the gate stand the Dai Nghien ("Writing Pad") and an ornate nine-meter-high obelisk the Thap But ("Writing Tower") inscribed as "a pen to wright on the sky". The island itself is accessed, for a small fee, via the Huc ("Flood of Morning Sunlight") bridge a beautiful arch of red-lacquered wood, proclaimed as the "place where morning sun rests".
This pleasant little temple has long been a place of inspiration for Vietnam's poets and writers and is now a perfectly serene place to sit in the shade of one of the ancient trees and work on your own compositions in a spot still relatively undisturbed by tourism.
From journal City in the River Bend