Archive for ‘Asia’

April 28, 2022

Hey! I was at Bạc Liêu, Vietnam!

Oh well looking at my pictures of Vietnam and bringing back memories and good cheers, I found this one little mention in older post. So, credit where credit is due, let me tell you a bit more on Bac Liêu, southern Vietnam. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Bạc Liêu is a provincial city and capital of the Bạc Liêu Province in the Mekong Delta region in southern Vietnam. The former name of the city is Vĩnh Lợi. At about 300 km from Ho Chi Minh City and about 100 km south of Cần Thơ, the largest city in the Mekong Delta. I came to the airport of Ca Mau, (see post) and drove by car, wonderful road warrior thrill.

Bac Lieu tac say church passing statues mar16

What marks Bac Liêu is its atypical landscape, western-style houses dating from the 20C line the river of the city. Its old villas have their own style, different from those that one can see in other cities of Vietnam. The materials came mainly from France, the architecture is symmetrical, the roofs have high vaults and high ceilings. The inhabitants of Bac Liêu circulate mainly on the waterways of the city, you too can admire the charm of this Western architecture during a boat trip.

A bit of history I like, The name Bạc Liêu is based on the Chinese pronunciation of a Khmer name  In the 1950s the area was a centre of Huỳnh Phú Sổ’s Hòa Hảo religion after Sổ was released there. After the Fall of Saigon, 30 April 1975, Bạc Liêu province and Cà Mau province were merged into one new entity called Minh Hải province. Although it is presently located in Vietnam, the area used to be a part of the Khmer Empire which ruled most of Indochina many centuries ago. It is still home to many ethnic Khmer people in addition to a large ethnic Teochew Chinese population In 1996, Minh Hải province was split into two, with the northeast becoming Bạc Liêu province and the southwest becoming Cà Mau province.

Bac Lieu Tac say memorial passing mar16

Some of the things to see in Bac Lieu ,which sadly had no time to see most of them are : Xiem Can Pagoda, Nha May Dien Gio Bac Lieu, Quan Am Phat Dai Temple, Tac Say Church – Truong Buu Diep (see pic), Cong Tu Bac Lieu House (Prince of Bac Lieu House), and Wind Farm Bac Lie.

Bac Lieu tac say church passing mar16

In Vietnam, Bạc Liêu is the main exporter of shrimp and prawns (for what I came!) . Do try its fondeu of fish, and the mix of Vietnamese, Chinese and Khmer cuisine.

An anecdote I was told: The don ca tài tu is a typical musical art of southern Vietnam that has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bac Lieu is said to be the cradle of this art. It is indeed in this province that the greatest masters were trained during the 20C. Born at the end of the 19C from a combination of ritual music, court music and folk literature, the don ca tài tu became a highly prized art in the early 20C. Many groups have appeared all over South Vietnam. In the province of Bac Liêu, the most famous musician was Lê Tài Khi . Founder of the first group of ritual music in the province, he will remain above all for the following generations the “later founder” of the don ca tài tu, for having renovated and popularized the twenty original works of the repertoire. By the 1930s, most of the great masters of don ca tài tu were former students of Lê Tài Khi.

Its always hard to find official Tourism information in English: so these are sites that give some information on the area of Bac Lieu. Hope it helps,

The official Vietnam tourist office on the South Vietnam area: https://vietnam.travel/places-to-go/southern-vietnam

The Mekong Delta area private Far East Tour on boating in the Mekong by Bac Lieu in French: https://www.mekongtourisme.com/destination/detail/Conseils_de_voyage_a_Bac_Lieu_-_Croisiere_au_delta_du_Mekong_52.html

The private Origin Vietnam tourist guide on Bac Lieu: https://vietnam.vnanet.vn/french/la-visite-du-cap-ca-mau-une-experience-inoubliable/429934.html

There you go folks, another dandy off the beaten path trails of mine in our wonderful world. Bac Lieu was a chance to see something different and see the beauty of Vietnam. Again, hope you enjoy the post and do go deep south into Bac Lieu!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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April 28, 2022

The Notre-Dame Cathedral of Ho Chi Minh City!

I had this monument briefly mentioned and the pictures not the best were in other posts. I decided to update the text and use these older pictures into a new post. Memorable moments of my visits to Ho Chi Minh City (former Saigon). I like to tell you a bit more even if just passed by it was on my list to go inside eventually; the Notre Dame Cathedral of Ho Chi Minh City!

The Notre-Dame Cathedral sits in the center of Ho Chi Minh CityDistrict 1, not far from Saigon Post Office and Reunification Palace. It was built by the French from 1877 to 1880. It is located Place de la Commune-de-Paris (Công xã Paris), formerly Place Pigneau de Behaine which marks the beginning of Đồng Khởi Street.  

hcmc ND cathedral front passing mar16

A first church is built in the 5th street (currently Ngô Duc Ke). It was a pagoda abandoned by the Cochinchinese during the war of conquest , But it became too small, the governor of Cochinchina, Admiral Bonard, decided in 1863 to build a wooden church on the bank of the Charner canal (Kinh Lớn). Archbishop Lefèbvre laid the first stone on March 28, 1863 , and the construction was completed in 1865, when it was called the Church of Saigon.

In August 1876, the governor of Cochinchina Marie Jules Dupré organized a competition to determine the architecture of Notre-Dame Cathedral. The project by architect Jules Bourard was selected by the competition organizers from among the eighteen submitted proposals. The cathedral, according to Bourard’s plans, is in the Revised Romanesque style, mixed with the Gothic style and based on the model of Notre-Dame de Paris, but inferior in size. All building materials are imported from France. The outer wall of the cathedral is built with red bricks made and imported from Toulouse.  

On April 11, 1880, on the occasion of the celebration of Easter, the inaugural ceremony was celebrated in the presence of the Governor of Cochinchina, de Vilers. In 1895, two bell towers were added to the cathedral, each 58 meters high and housing six bronze bells, for a total weight of 28.85 tons. Crosses are installed at the top of each arrow, measuring 3.5 meters high, 2 meters wide, for 600 kilograms. The building then measures 60.5 meters. The 59 stained glass windows came from the Atelier Lorin in Chartres. Some were destroyed during the war and replaced with modern stained glass windows. The cathedral was electrified in October 1913.

In the flower garden in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral, there was a bronze statue erected in 1902. The statue was sculpted in France. The statue was unsealed in 1945, but retaining the foundations. In 1959, the bishop commissioned a statue of Our Lady carved in granite in Rome, the statue which was sealed on the foundations left free in 1945 and honored it with the title of Regina Pacis (Queen of Peace). In 1960, the Holy See erected the Apostolic Vicariates of Vietnam into archdioceses with archbishoprics in Hanoi (North Vietnam), Hue and Saigon (South Vietnam). The cathedral is elevated to the title of mother church of the Archdiocese of Saigon. In 1962, the Holy See conferred on the mother cathedral of Saigon the title of minor basilica. From then on, this cathedral was called the Basilica-Cathedral of Notre Dame ( Our Lady) of Saigon. It still call this way even if the city has change to Ho Chi Minh City.

hcmc ND cathedral apse back mar16

Full services in both Vietnamese and English are held every Sunday morning and are well attended by Vietnamese and foreigners alike. Other services are held throughout the week. Hence, visitors who wish to attend mass should go on Sunday at 9h30 (9:30 a.m.). I was there while doing renovations ,this has been done already, souvenir picture

hcmc cathedral back passing dec18

The private Vietnam travel guide on the ND Cathedralhttps://www.vietnamonline.com/attraction/saigon-notre-dame-cathedral.html

The Vietnam tourist board on HCMC and the Cathedralhttps://vietnam.travel/things-to-do/7-must-see-attractions-hcmc

The official Ho Chi Minh City tourist office on the Cathedral: http://sodulich.hochiminhcity.gov.vn/Home/moduleId/564/id/4400/ma/HCCDN/controller/HanhChinhDuKhach/action/Detail

There you go folks, a nice monument that should have been given more and worth the detour in the wonderful District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City. Do enjoy the Basilica Cathedral Notre Dame of Saigon! 

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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January 31, 2022

The Reunification Palace of Ho Chi Minh City ! Interiors !!!

Coming  to Asia,and Vietnam on several occassions in the last 10 years, and blog posts all over, I like to bring you to one building that emcompassed the different periods in Vietnamese history.  Again ,I take you bak to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) or old Saigon and the Presidential palace or Reunification  Palace. This is an updated post that I will split into three sections with new links, of course some text will be repeated. This time the palace’s interiors; hope you enjoy it as I.  Now as said before Saigon is also a district in the city ,and you may hear many Vietnamese calling the city still by this name; but it does not mean they use it as opposition to the one party totalitarian system there. Simply a matter of traditions.

Now, I passed by several times and was enthusiastically by the locals about it, until one day , they asked if wanted to see it. Been in love with history , of course, told them yes. It was a very nice experience to now see what I have heard for many years.  Let me tell you a bit more about the Palace of Reunification formerly known as the Palace of Independence or Palace of Norodom, is a historic building of Ho Chi Minh City.

I will give a bit of history I like (shorter version)

In 1858, France launched an attack on Da Nang, starting its invasion of Vietnam. In 1867, France completed its conquest of southern Vietnam (Cochinchina), comprising the provinces of Bien Hoa, Gia Dinh, Dinh Tuong, Vinh Long, An Giang, and Ha Tien. From 1887 to 1945, all Governor-General of French Indochina used the palace as their residence and office.

  1. visitors reception room
  2.  President’s reception roomhcmc-reuni-palace-conference-hall-for-visitors-mar16

hcmc-reuni-palace-president-reception-room-mar16

In 1945, Japan defeated and replaced  France in French Indochina in a successful coup. Norodom Palace became the headquarters of Japanese colonial officials in Vietnam. In September 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allied forces in WWII and France returned to Vietnam and Norodom Palace was restored to its position as the office of the French local governement. In 1954, France surrendered to the Viet Minh after its defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. France agreed to sign the Geneva Accords and withdrew its troops from Vietnam. According to the accords, Vietnam would be divided pending general elections. The 17th parallel  would act as the temporary border until a vote based on universal suffrage was held to establish a unified Vietnamese government. North Vietnam was under the control of the Việt Minh communists, while South Vietnam was under the anti-communist State of Vietnam. Of course, wishful thinking this never happened as the North stay in power on their side and the South on theirs for many years afterwards.

3)The President dining room

4) First Lady dining room guests

hcmc-reuni-palace-dining-room-mar16

hcmc-reuni-palace-first-lady-dining-banquets-mar16

The USA been heavily involved after the French left on the pretext of a UN resolution but more for the oils reserves along the Mekong Delta was finally defeated , leaving the country on the whims of the Viet Cong of North Vietnam. In November 1975, after the negotiation convention between the communist North Vietnam and their colleagues in South Vietnam was completed, the Provisional Revolutionary Government  renamed the palace Reunification Hall . As well as the new Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

5) First lady bedroom

6) President bedroom

7) President living room

8) President game room

hcmc-reuni-palace-first-lady-bedroom-mar16

hcmc-reuni-palace-president-bedroom-mar16

hcmc-reuni-palace-president-living-room-mar16

hcmc-reuni-palace-game-room-mar16

The official Independence palace as it is known officially today: https://independencepalace.gov.vn/relic/history-of-the-independent-palace/

The Unofficial Vietnam guide on the Reunification palace: http://www.vietnam-guide.com/ho-chi-minh-city/reunification-palace.htm

The official Vietnam tourist office on Ho Chi Minh City: https://vietnam.travel/places-to-go/southern-vietnam/ho-chi-minh-city

There you go folks, a nice side step into history while visiting exciting Ho Chi Minh City. This is one of the place worth seeing if visiting the city, a must to see and understand better the conflict of wars in this country. Hope you enjoy the historical post on the Reunification Palace.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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January 31, 2022

The Reunification Palace of Ho Chi Minh City ! Vehicules !!

Coming  to Asia,and Vietnam on several occassions in the last 10 years, and blog posts all over, I like to bring you to one building that emcompassed the different periods in Vietnamese history.  Again ,I take you bak to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) or old Saigon and the Presidential palace or Reunification  Palace. This is an updated post that I will split into three sections with new links, of course some text will be repeated. This time the vehicules story; hope you enjoy it as I.  Now as said before Saigon is also a district in the city ,and you may hear many Vietnamese calling the city still by this name; but it does not mean they use it as opposition to the one party totalitarian system there. Simply a matter of traditions.

Now, I passed by several times and was enthusiastically by the locals about it, until one day , they asked if wanted to see it. Been in love with history , of course, told them yes. It was a very nice experience to now see what I have heard for many years.  Let me tell you a bit more about the Palace of Reunification formerly known as the Palace of Independence or Palace of Norodom, is a historic building of Ho Chi Minh City.

The helicopter for protection of the President and troops

hcmc-reuni-palace-helicopter-pad-2ndfl-mar16

hcmc-reuni-palace-helicopter-pad-of-president-mar16

I will give a bit of history I like (short version from exteriors)

In 1858, France launched an attack on Da Nang, starting its invasion of Vietnam. In 1867, France completed its conquest of southern Vietnam (Cochinchina), comprising the provinces of Bien Hoa, Gia Dinh, Dinh Tuong, Vinh Long, An Giang, and Ha Tien.  The new palace was built between 1868 and 1873 for the king of Cambodia Norodom Ier. The complex covered an area of 12 hectares, including  the palace with an 80-meter-wide façade, a guest-chamber capable of accommodating 800 people, with spacious gardens covered by green trees and a lawn. Most of the building materials were imported from France. From 1887 to 1945, all Governor-General of French Indochina used the palace as their residence and office.

In 1945, Japan defeated and replaced  France in French Indochina in a successful coup. Norodom Palace became the headquarters of Japanese colonial officials in Vietnam. In September 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allied forces in WWII and France returned to Vietnam and Norodom Palace was restored to its position as the office of the French local governement. In 1954, France surrendered to the Viet Minh after its defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. France agreed to sign the Geneva Accords and withdrew its troops from Vietnam. According to the accords, Vietnam would be divided pending general elections. The 17th parallel  would act as the temporary border until a vote based on universal suffrage was held to establish a unified Vietnamese government. North Vietnam was under the control of the Việt Minh communists, while South Vietnam was under the anti-communist State of Vietnam. Of course, wishful thinking this never happened as the North stay in power on their side and the South on theirs for many years afterwards.

The Presidential Mercedes Benz car

hcmc-reuni-palace-mercedes-president-mar16

In 1962,  the current  president then gave the order to have it demolished and built in its place the present palace, The President, who was assassinated in a coup d’état in 1963, did not see the end of the work. The new palace was completed in 1966 and remained a presidential residence until April 1975.  The USA been heavily involved after the French left on the pretext of a UN resolution but more for the oils reserves along the Mekong Delta was finally defeated , leaving the country on the whims of the Viet Cong of North Vietnam. In November 1975, after the negotiation convention between the communist North Vietnam and their colleagues in South Vietnam was completed, the Provisional Revolutionary Government  renamed the palace Reunification Hall . As well as the new Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

The US surrender jeep below

hcmc-reuni-palace-jeep-surrender-mar16

The official Independence palace as it is known officially todayhttps://independencepalace.gov.vn/relic/history-of-the-independent-palace/

The official Vietnam tourist office on Ho Chi Minh City: https://vietnam.travel/places-to-go/southern-vietnam/ho-chi-minh-city

The Unofficial Vietnam guide on the Reunification palacehttp://www.vietnam-guide.com/ho-chi-minh-city/reunification-palace.htm

There you go folks, a nice side step into history while visiting exciting Ho Chi Minh City. This is one of the place worth seeing if visiting the city, a must to see and understand better the conflict of wars in this country. Hope you enjoy the historical post on the Reunification Palace.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

Tags: , ,
January 31, 2022

The Reunification Palace of Ho Chi Minh City ! Exteriors.

Coming  to Asia,and Vietnam on several occassions in the last 10 years, and blog posts all over, I like to bring you to one building that emcompassed the different periods in Vietnamese history.  Again ,I take you bak to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) or old Saigon and the Presidential palace or Reunification  Palace. This is an updated post that I will split into three sections with new links, of course some text will be repeated. This time the exteriors; hope you enjoy it as I.  Now as said before Saigon is also a district in the city ,and you may hear many Vietnamese calling the city still by this name; but it does not mean they use it as opposition to the one party totalitarian system there. Simply a matter of traditions.

hcmc-reuni-palace-inside-gardens-mar16

Now, I passed by several times and was enthusiastically by the locals about it, until one day , they asked if wanted to see it. Been in love with history , of course, told them yes. It was a very nice experience to now see what I have heard for many years.  Let me tell you a bit more about the Palace of Reunification formerly known as the Palace of Independence or Palace of Norodom, is a historic building of Ho Chi Minh City.

I will give a bit of history I like

In 1858, France launched an attack on Da Nang, starting its invasion of Vietnam. In 1867, France completed its conquest of southern Vietnam (Cochinchina), comprising the provinces of Bien Hoa, Gia Dinh, Dinh Tuong, Vinh Long, An Giang, and Ha Tien. To consolidate the newly established colony, in 1868,,the governor elect held a ceremony to lay the foundation stone of a new palace to replace the old wooden palace built in 1863. The new palace was built between 1868 and 1873 for the king of Cambodia Norodom Ier. The complex covered an area of 12 hectares, including  the palace with an 80-meter-wide façade, a guest-chamber capable of accommodating 800 people, with spacious gardens covered by green trees and a lawn. Most of the building materials were imported from France. From 1887 to 1945, all Governor-General of French Indochina used the palace as their residence and office.

In 1945, Japan defeated and replaced  France in French Indochina in a successful coup. Norodom Palace became the headquarters of Japanese colonial officials in Vietnam. In September 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allied forces in WWII and France returned to Vietnam and Norodom Palace was restored to its position as the office of the French local governement. In 1954, France surrendered to the Viet Minh after its defeat at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. France agreed to sign the Geneva Accords and withdrew its troops from Vietnam. According to the accords, Vietnam would be divided pending general elections. The 17th parallel  would act as the temporary border until a vote based on universal suffrage was held to establish a unified Vietnamese government. North Vietnam was under the control of the Việt Minh communists, while South Vietnam was under the anti-communist State of Vietnam. Of course, wishful thinking this never happened as the North stay in power on their side and the South on theirs for many years afterwards.

In 1962, the Presidential palace was bombarded by two fighter jets manned by two lieutenants from the South Vietnamese Air force. They wanted to assassinate President Diem and put an end to his extremely unpopular policy. The bombing was a failure, but the building was heavily damaged. The president then gave the order to have it demolished and built in its place the present palace, according to the project of the Vietnamese architect Ngô Viết Thụ, the first winner of the Prix de Rome in 1955. The President, who was assassinated in a coup d’état in 1963, did not see the end of the work. The new palace was completed in 1966 and remained a presidential residence until April 1975.  The USA been heavily involved after the French left on the pretext of a UN resolution but more for the oils reserves along the Mekong Delta was finally defeated , leaving the country on the whims of the Viet Cong of North Vietnam.  Their tanks came crashing in on the Presidential palace in 1975 to put an end to the divided country.  In November 1975, after the negotiation convention between the communist North Vietnam and their colleagues in South Vietnam was completed, the Provisional Revolutionary Government  renamed the palace Reunification Hall . As well as the new Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

The official Independence palace as it is known officially today: https://independencepalace.gov.vn/relic/history-of-the-independent-palace/

The official Vietnam tourist office on Ho Chi Minh Cityhttps://vietnam.travel/places-to-go/southern-vietnam/ho-chi-minh-city

The Unofficial Vietnam guide on the Reunification palacehttp://www.vietnam-guide.com/ho-chi-minh-city/reunification-palace.htm

There you go folks, a nice side step into history while visiting exciting Ho Chi Minh City. This is one of the place worth seeing if visiting the city, a must to see and understand better the conflict of wars in this country. Hope you enjoy the historical post on the Reunification Palace.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

Tags: , ,
January 4, 2022

Curiosities of Ho Chi Minh City!!

I was browsing what to write in my blog, and got a call from one of my friends in Vietnam. This led to look into my Ho Chi Minh City picture vault and found a couple not in my blog. Therefore, here are some curiosities of Ho Chi Minh City, a hotel and a museum! Hope you enjoy it as I.

This was my first ever hotel in 2012, and just one time! Memories lingered forever. And of course, was my first hotel so cannot find direct pictures of it just from it yikes!!!

Hotel Grand Silverland, in district 1 ,right in the middle by the great famous market of Ben Thanh. This is as a classic hotel as you can find, old look, and modern facilities throughtout, with a great breakfast,and easy walking to the market, muséums,and lively street life of the city.  It has a wonderful rooftop pool and resto with fabulous views of Saigon (now HCMC).  Pic below  looking from my room to corner going to Ben Thanh market!

hcmc looking out window grand silverland hotel nov12

As said, it is only a 2 minute walk to the bustling Bến Thành Market and 1 km from the War Remnants Museum and an 8-minute walk from the Reunification palace.(see post on all).  Also, 400 meters from the Mariamman Temple. The hotel ,also includes mini-golf, a gym, and a spa with sauna and massage services. However, the best for me was the roofstop pool and restaurant!

I really enjoy it but I guess was done to impress me as later I had to use other hotels just as nice thus (see post), It will be my memorable moment walking to Ben Thanh market at night !! The Hotel Grand Silverland webpage: https://www.silverlandhotels.com/grand-silverland-hotel-spa.html

I passed several times here and did get into the gardens, only one passing picture as souvenir but a wonderful memory and great friends. The Gia Long Palace , now officially the Ho Chi Minh City Museum is situated at the corner of Lý Tự Trọng and Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa streets, located on 2 hectares of land, near the Independence Palace. It was established in 1975, and this museum is full of interesting pieces of Vietnamese history and culture, such as ceramics, old maps of the city and displays of traditional marriages between ethnic minorities. The garden outside is popular for wedding photographs or as a break for tired tourists like me!

hcmc Ho Chi Minh City Museum former Gia Long Palace nov12

A bit of history I like , is really ups and downs !

The construction of the palace began in 1885 and completed in 1890, and was designed to house the Museum of Commercial Trade, exhibiting products and goods of Southern Vietnam. However, the building soon became the residence of the Governor of Cochinchina (historical area of south Vietnam including the Mekong Delta and the south east).   In 1945, control of the palace changed hands several times. After the Japanese Imperial Army toppled the colonial regime of French Indochina on March 9 1945 ,the palace became the residence for Japanese Governor , On August 14, 1945 the Japanese handed over the palace to its puppet Empire of Vietnam government , After, the building became the headquarters of the Provisional Administrative Committee of Southern Vietnam, later renamed the People’s Committee of Southern Vietnam. On September 10, 1945 Lt. Col. B. W. Roe (from the British military mission) occupied the palace and made it the Allied Mission headquarters, evicting the People’s Committee. On October 5, 1945 the building was used by General Leclerc as the temporary headquarters of the High Commission for the French Republic in Indochina ; the palace was used as Leclerc’s office, this time as the official headquarters of the Commissioner of the French Republic in Southern Vietnam.

After the French reconquest of Indochina, on June 2, 1948 the French government handed over the building to the Provisional Government of the State of Vietnam, establishing its headquarters there. It was later transformed into the Palace of the Premier, serving as official residence of the Premier of the State of Vietnam. From June 26 to September 7, 1954, this palace was used as the temporary official residence of the Prime Minister, French High Commissioner. Bảo Đại renamed the palace to Gia Long Palace, and its street was renamed Gia Long Street. This was also the last residence of President of the Republic of Vietnam, The Supreme Court of the Republic of Vietnam was housed in the Palace, from October 31, 1966 to April 30, 1975, the Fall of Saigon.  On 12 August 1978 the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee ordered that the former Supreme Court be used as the Ho Chi Minh City Revolutionary Museum , later renamed to its current name of the Ho Chi Ming City Museum on 13 December 1999.

A bit on the construction/architecture I like

The 2-floored palace building covers an area over 1700 m², using classical Baroque architecture with European and Oriental influences. The flooring, staircases and halls were European-styled, while the roof was Oriental-inspired. Surrounding the palace is a trapezoid-shaped flower garden, with 4 pathways. There were built three extremely deep tunnels leading from the palace to other parts of the city so that the President and important government officials/military figures could escape in the event of a coup. Which it came anyway ! The tunnels were 2.2 m high, with cast reinforced concrete . Walls were 1 m thick, with 6 iron vault doors for entry and exit. The tunnels had 2 downward stairs, leading to a basement with 6 rooms, which included conference rooms, offices, bathrooms, electrical rooms. The Presidential Office and Presidential Adviser’s Offices were equipped with battery banks for uninterruptible power supply, portable radios, RCA transceivers. There are two exit tunnels that run towards Le Thanh Ton Street as well as six ventilation holes and numerous sewage drainages. 

The oifficial Ho Chi Minh City museum : http://www.hcmc-museum.edu.vn/en-us/home-page.aspx

There you go folks, a dandy combo in a dandy city of Asia, Ho Chi Minh City, memories for a lifetime. Hope you enjoy the post as I, and worth the detour to visit these places.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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December 31, 2021

Happy New Year, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo, Feliz Ano Novo 2022!!!

This is probably will be my shortest post but with the most intense desire in me. I like to thanks all my readers, followers, posters, well wishers during 2021 for their kind following of my blog.

Happy New Year, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo, Feliz Ano Novo 2022!!! Some traditions I Like

Happy New Year 2022

In Italy, Lentils in a New Year’s dish serve the same function as the black-eyed peas in Hoppin’ John, with their round shape representing coins. And in the Philippines, it’s customary to eat 12 round fruits, one for every month, to ensure a year of abundance. The fruits usually take center stage at the table for the media noche or middle night or the midnight meal.

And in the Philippines, revelers don’t just try to eat circles — partygoers wear them, too. Polka dots are all the rage on December 31, increasing the chances for a fortunate new year.

New York City’s Times Square to watch the ball drop since 1907. And while the first one was just iron and wood, today you can watch a 12-foot, 11,875-pound geodesic sphere covered in 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles and 32,256 LEDs make its descent, even from the warmth and comfort of your own home. Me saw it from 1974 to 1985!

Plymouth, Wisconsin hosts a Big Cheese Drop; Kennett Square, PA uses a giant mushroom, and New Orleans drops a fleur de lis (à la française).Brazil makes it easier too choose your New Year’s Eve outfit ,everyone wears white for good luck and peace. Also in Brazil, if you head to the beach, you can increase your luck by heading to the water and jumping over seven waves. You get one wish for each wave.

You might think that making resolutions for the new years is a relatively recent trend, historically speaking, but the tradition is very old, probably more than 4,000 years old, in fact. Historians believe Babylonians, one of the first cultures to actually celebrate the changing of the year made promises to pay debts or return borrowed objects. It’s a common superstition that opening the doors and windows will let the old year out, and the new year in unimpeded.

In Denmark, broken dishes are a good thing , people go around breaking dishware on the doorsteps of their friends and family.

Yes, exactly 12,one at each stroke of midnight. That’s what they do in Spain , pop one grape for every month of the New Year. If you fail to conscientiously finish your grapes by the time the clock stops chiming, you’ll face misfortune in the new year.

On New Year’s Eve, families in Greece hang bundles of onions above their doors as a means of inviting that prosperity into the home. It’s also said that, on New Year’s Day, parents wake up their children in the morning by gently bonking their kids on the head with the onions that were outside.

In Germany and Austria, there are a few different lucky symbols that you’d gift to friends and family to bring them good fortune. These include pigs, mushrooms, clovers and chimney sweeps.

Walloon and Flemish farmers in Belgium make sure everyone can get in on the festivities,  even the livestock. They rise early on January 1 to wish a “Happy New Year” to all the cows, horses, pigs, chickens and other farm animals. That way, they’ll have a good farming year.

Ireland’s most interesting tradition doesn’t involve eating. Instead, the Irish bang on the walls of their homes with Christmas bread. It’s said to chase any bad spirits out of the house to start the new year off with a clean slate.

In Colombia, people take empty suitcases and run around the block as fast as they can. It’s supposed to guarantee a year filled with travel.

In Japan, it’s traditional to eat “toshikoshi soba” a dish with long, buckwheat noodles that’s served hot or cold. The noodles symbolize longevity, and the hearty buckwheat plant represents resilience. In Japan, for ōmisoka, buddhist temple bells ring out 108 times as in the lead up to the new year. Each chime is supposed to root out a worldly passion, such as anger, suspicion or lust. The last toll comes at midnight.

In Turkey, pomegranates are symbols of abundance. Eating them is great, sure, but if you really want a good 2022, you’ll smash the fruit on your doorstep.

Singapore decorates its Singapore River with the wishing spheres containing the hopes and dreams of new year revelers.

In Ecuador, the bad parts of the old year or año viejo are turned into effigies and burned. People make sawdust-filled dummies out politicians, pop-culture figures and other characters, and then burn them at midnight as a sort of cleansing ritual. For extra good-luck points, participants try to jump over the flames 12 times, once for every month.

In Scotland, the Isle of Man and some other parts of Northern England, the “first footer,” as it was called, was extremely important. Tradition in those parts of the world states to select a man who is tall and dark (as a protection against Vikings), who would come with simple gifts of coal, salt, shortbread and whisky, representing the basic needs of heat, food and drink. Choosing wisely meant good luck for the upcoming year.

In my belle France we usually ring in the New Year with a huge feast, commonly know as le réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre. The meal is full of traditional, decadent eats, including foie gras, oysters, lobster and escargot. And, Champagne is the drink of choice.

This is for the memories the New Year’s celebration from the Château de Chantilly awesome!!! Also, to thank you again for your loyal following as 2021 gave my blog 48 629 views ,23 487 visitors, 26 980 likes, 839 comments, and did 1 215 posts! Thank you all!!!!

Chantilly castle entr new year 2022 dec21

Some of the traditions not all. Hoping they are alright, you let me know ok. I just know for sure France , Spain, and the New York USA. Again

Happy New Year, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo, Feliz Ano Novo 2022!!!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

December 14, 2021

My former job in the Morbihan !!!!

Well, I worked in the beautiful Morbihan , Saint Nolff, near Vannes. It was a very nice job, in upper management, with plenty of travel opportunity as we have branches in 20 countries, and my job required a lot of travel. One of the hidden benefits of the job! Now as the time has come to go into anticipated retirement and leave the job nostalgia sets in; it was a wonderful job that I could have continue until I drop !

The people were/are very friendly and nice, and we were allowed to work pretty much independant, no time limits plenty of trust, I was next to Vannes in a quiet, small, cozy country heaven, a big change from my previous post near and in Paris. Yes a loving job if I can call it that. I live about 35 minutes from the job by car on the road N165 or can take a semi detour and come into the country road D19 or even better the D779 . Traffic is minimum, and it was super to drive from to work. They tell me that on snow days it is difficult, well I left and still no snow, the last one a just white covered ground was about 15 years ago ! Heat yes very hot days but with a breeze as we are not far from the ocean so even in the canicule we are the least impacted.

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The job was on the park of an old castle originally built in 1504 ,now only the ruins of its walls remains, and the face of the manoir or mansion call Chateau, where the main administrative office is,and where I was ! It has several buildings inside the Chateau, housing the different departments or as it is call here Services; a beautiful long garden and forest area, and a cafeteria with hot meals serve daily with choices of menus. Sublime where coming to eat was like going home ! The place even had a tennis court , and then change to a football /soccer field ; then it was added a club house with baby foot, musculation gym and coffee rest area as well as plenty of parking. It has several other buildings all throughout the old castle park of 44 hectares!

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My trips were everyt month for several years taking me to Brazil,  Mexico, Cuba, South Africa, Uganda, Belize, Philippines,Indonesia, China, Singapore, Vietnam. Also, in Europe took off for the Czech Republic, Slovaquia, Poland, Russia, Romania, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and Belgium. I will remember the trips and especially the friendship of many nations still in contact, I have some neutral pictures would include in this post for memories’s sake, I was able to go into small towns in these countries away from tourism and see the real country , get to know the real people, families and all. Even taken to their homes!!

Mexico Ciudad Obregon Sonora towards bay and shrimp farms oct12

Uganda jinya iginvest igor pedro arriving son fish nile river apr18

vietnam dak lak tho duong pedro tung others lake dec18

I had to go every month to the world HQ in Paris by Porte Maillot and do visit some of our supplier service companies all over Paris, which was an added bonus, all company paid as well !! Many of these trips included convention held in Paris usually at the Palais Brongniart ! As well as world conventions in different places in France such as Paris and Chantilly. These conventions also took me to Spain ! All wonderful words cannot describe the top class travel that I was doing, Some of my collegues even told me I was lucky as I never was refuse a trip by my boss the CFO /DAF or the President /PDG !! The associations that I was paid for it and allow to travel to events all over Europe and into Ft Lauderdale, FLa where was able to see family and dwell on my former home there was super!!!

Cadiz barcelo convention party me carlos carole etc oct15

Cadiz convention oct15 pedro patrick festa

As I dwell into these wonderful experiences I take it with sadness , already 5 months out ! I was told and heard of folks telling me how wonderful retirement was and how glad they made it ! Well I do not think so, I rather stay working and indulging in all these pleasures and human contacts ! To all those friends that I will show this post, thank you so much for your kindness , cooperation, and respect on these wonderful last 10 years !!!

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The Bretagne region tourist office on the Morbihanhttps://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/departments/morbihan/

The Gulf of Morbihan tourist office: https://www.golfedumorbihan.bzh/

The Bay of Quiberon tourist officehttps://www.baiedequiberon.bzh/quiberon

There you go folks, my last job, and very memorable indeed, Saint Nolff is in my blog in several posts on its sights and now my job, Talhouet was awesome ! Hope you enjoy the post as I do,, and to share the memories with me, At least will have more time to spent with my old Dad and 3 boys as well as our dog Rex, My beautiful Morbihan, lovely Bretagne and belle France! And not to forget my current hole on earth Pluvigner !

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

November 3, 2021

Ben Thanh Market of Ho Chi Minh City!

I am taking you back east all the way to Vietnam. I have visited the country several times in the last few years and always impressive with its recovery after the wars. My main city was Ho Chi Minh City or old Saigon; even if some locals still call it Saigon! Let me update this wonderful post on the Ben Thanh Market !! Hope you enjoy it as I.

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I like to tell you about one particular spot that I got in by surprise walking from my hotel once, and then on another occassion came back to see it fully inside. This is the Ben Thanh Market, a must to visit. The Ben Thanh market or Ho Chi Minh Market,  or Saigon market , whose Vietnamese name is Cho Ben Thanh is the best tourist shopping destination in Ho Chi Minh City. This tourist spot is located in the heart of the city, in District 1 of the city, more precisely the Ben Thanh market  is located at the end of a commercial street call Le Loi, and at the beginning of the Le Lai street.

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This building, which covers an area of more than 13 000 m 2, is made of cream-painted concrete with red roofs. Rectangular in shape, has 4 entrance doors or access inside the building, each door is equipped with an animal as a symbol of this entry, for example at the door of the animal is a cow. The highlight of the main façade is the huge clock housed in the middle of the front door turret. Cho Ben Thanh Market was built in 1914 by the French in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh). Although the building is relatively modern market, the inhabitants of the city and traded near the river since the 17C.

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On the market you can find clothes, shoes, accessories, jewelry, equipment, pet shops, crafts, flowers, spices, nuts, food and restaurants . If you can’t find what you want inside the Ben Thanh market, you won’t be able to find it in Ho Chi Minh city!,so is the claim.

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As a rule, prices are not fixed and will need to be haggle, or as traders say, apply a discount (except for restaurants). During the day, traders and stands  inside the market building, but in the evening , after 18h, the market closes to make room for the so-called Ben Thanh Night Market. A part of the traders mounted their stalls and shelves outside the Ben Thanh Market and all the restaurants and food stalls, without exception, continue its activity at the gates of Cho Ben Thanh Market.

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The market opens its doors in the early hours of the morning and closes in the evening at 18h.  It is open every day of the week ,Monday to Sunday, whether it is a holiday, only during the Lunar New Year (Tết) and holidays, some stores can be closed. From 18h until midnight, outside the market, it continues the night market as above mentioned.

The official Ben Thanh Market of HCMChttps://www.ben-thanh-market.com/

The private Vietnam Guide on Ben Thanh Markethttp://www.vietnam-guide.com/ho-chi-minh-city/ben-thanh-market.htm

There you go folks,always busy but so many wonders inside to bring home as souvenirs from Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon. Hope you enjoy the post on Ben Thanh Market, and do visit while in town!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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October 29, 2021

The good times ,and sights of the Philippines!

I will remind myself of the good night time in the Philippines, and update this older post, I made several trips to the country the last few years, 6 times to be exact from 2014 to November 2018, all memorable with many friends. This post will be on fun and sights of the Philippines, Do see my other posts and hope you enjoy them as I.

At Cebu, (Mandaue city) we went to the Jump Shot Sports Bar, a rather rocking place with a terrace overlooking the main street. Plenty of cheers good beers and friendly company. We had great fun here and came back couple times more to the Jump Shot Sports Bar. Recommended. Yelp reviews webpage: https://en.yelp.com.ph/biz/jump-shot-sports-bar-mandaue-city

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Then,over in Manila we went to the Road House Manila Bay,and it was rocking live with a good band and friendly nice service. The band was Spank Me Regor and was again very good indeed worth going back for them, very nice vocals music from the 80’s! The Yelp reviews webpage: https://en.yelp.com.ph/biz/the-roadhouse-manila-bay-pasay?osq=road+house

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We were there by the harbor in Manila, so there was a nice big wheel that remainded me of the one in Paris place de la Concorde.

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 All on the road warrior ways ,I like and nice memories of the Philippines. As said, many other visits there and been to several islands, great memories, great friends and many souvenirs. Do not know when back but if long the memories will lingered forever. Thanks Philippines.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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