Vibrant Vietnam - 2007

arrive. But they looked for all the world like a similar grouping of nursing home residents having been wheeled out into the sunshine for some fresh air. We didn’t think they would appreciate us taking their photos, but my three intrepid photographer friends snapped them anyway. Our van looked much more comfortable. P ERFUME R IVER C RUISE In Hue we took a boat trip on the Perfume River to visit some of the vainglorious tombs the emperors had commissioned as well as to the observe life on the river for present day citizens. The emperors apparently had some of the pretensions of the Egyptian pharaohs because each tomb had to be bigger, more ornate, occupy more acreage, and exhibit more rich decorations than the tombs of the previous monarchs. The three we visited were indeed very impressive and quite beautiful in their display of Vietnamese craftsmanship, particularly in the encrusted inlay walls created of precious and semi-precious stones and glass. The wall designs were dazzling and the columns and canopies over the thrones were simply stunning. Each tomb also had a Buddhist temple somewhere on the grounds and these were quite gorgeous in their splendid contents. We all were so shocked that these symbols of a destroyed monarchy and a cast-off religion had been left intact by the communists when they overran the city.

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