Posts tagged ‘Asia’

June 19, 2022

Curiosities of Asia !!

Looking at my vault, found some older pictures on paper and took my digital camera to take picture of the pictures and use them in my blog. This allows me to show in my blog places not shown or pics with new angles of places shown in the blog. Nostalgia sets in and here I go on the curiosities of  Asia !!

Well found me a couple from my visit to Singapore when passing by Taiwan several years back even before blogging ! Memories found and glad to show it in my blog.

Sri Mariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. Built in 1827, Mariamman Kovil or Kling Street Temple as it was popularly known then was constructed for worship by immigrants from the Nagapatnam and Cuddalore districts of South India. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Mariamman, known for her power in curing epidemic illnesses and diseases. By 1827 a temple structure made of wood and attap was built at South Bridge Road. In 1843, a building made of plaster and brick was put up for the first time. It was only in 1962, that a new temple structure was developed complete with intricate sculptural works reminiscent of temple architecture in India.

singapore Sri Mariamman temple

Rattan has remarkably stood the test of time. And its history goes way back. The Pharaohs of ancient Egypt were buried with wicker furniture. Even the Roman empire was big on rattan furnishings. In Asia, raw rattan largely came from Indonesia and was shaped into furniture by craftsmen in China. Because of its proximity to both, Singapore was said to be Southeast Asia’s biggest exporter for rattan furniture. Eventually, the booming trade and colonists in Asia brought rattan to the US and Europe. I do not recall the name of the shop but it was full and busy ,just a reminder maybe someone can tell me what is the shop,do not recall and can’t make the name. Thanks in advance,

singapore rattan shop

There you go folks, a walk of nostalgia from my very earlier trips to Asia. The wonders of Singapore that brings nice memories my mind. It’s small world ,after all and looking forward to be back. Hope you enjoy the post as I reviving these old pictures into the life of my blog.

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

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May 26, 2022

The Greenbelts of Manila!!

I stayed mostly in Makati district and was able to go the wonderful Ayala Malls and especifically in the Greenbelt malls 1 thru 5.  This is really a shopper’s paradise with about five malls all interconnected with stores, restos ,cinema, chapel and others all wonderfully modern and clean; a place to spent a whole day and night. I have written briefly on them before, but it was such a fun time for me, that decided to group all info into one post on the Greenbelts of Manila!! Hope you enjoy it as I.

manila-greenbelt-5-mall-entrance-jan16

Greenbelt is a shopping mall located at the Ayala Center, Makati, metro Manila, It opened in 1988 and the mall offers a mix of high-end retail shops, restaurants, amenities, leisure and entertainment. Currently, the mall has five sections: two enclosed areas, two buildings with open-air shopping areas.  Built around a 250,000-square-meters (2,700,000 sq ft) retail complex, the mall, which merged the previous small arcades and shops, was first opened to the public in 1990. It was renovated in 2001, and as the complex grew, Greenbelt 2 and 3 were opened in 2002, with 4 and 5 opening in 2004 and 2007.

manila-greenbelt-5-inside-mall-jan16

Greenbelt 1 features lifestyle, food, and supply stores, two cinemas, an onstage theater, a performing arts theater home to the Repertory Philippines. It is also the location of a branch of The Marketplace, the supermarket chain of Rustan’s.  Greenbelt 2 features high-end restaurants and the Greenbelt Townhomes, a two- to three-story condominium on top.  Greenbelt 3 features a mix of international brands including luxury labels, sit-down restaurants, five cinemas and entertainment facilities. The largest Philippine branch of Louis Vuitton was found here. Greenbelt 4 features high-end boutiques. Also included are branches of H&M and Globe store. Greenbelt 5 has boutiques of Filipino designers, high-end department store Adora, and boutiques.

manila greenbelt 3 water fountain jan16

manila-greenbelt-garden-bridge-jan16

Restaurants can be found in Greenbelt 1, 2, 3, and 5, with Greenbelt 1 concentrating more on fast food, and Greenbelt 2, 3, and 5 featuring sit-down restaurants. Santo Niño de Paz Greenbelt Chapel is in Greenbelt Park at the complex’s center. Built as an open-air, concrete dome in the middle of a pond, the chapel holds Masses and other religious services every day for mall patrons and office workers. It celebrates its titular feast day every third Sunday of January.  Greenbelt is served by an interconnected basement parking built beneath it. It is also served by parking buildings located at Greenbelt 1 and 2, respectively, and the Paseo Steel Parking, located at the corner of Paseo de Roxas and Esperanza Street. The steel parking and Greenbelt 2 parking are interconnected to each other.

manila greenbelt chapel entr jan16

I was there having a few beers at my old hangout TGIFriday’s and great chat with bartenders Grace and Manny! I know the TGIF’s and always fun to seek them anywhere. The company was great talkative, friendly, attentive and learn a lot about Manila and the Philippines! Nice memories indeed. I read this restaurant is tempo closed, do not know if open again. They were at 3rd Level, Greenbelt 3.  Either way, will keep in my post as memories lingered beyond and good times forever.

I was joined by friends for lunch at Mesa a nouvelle Filipino cuisine restaurant right in Greenbelt 5; It  was special having lunch with good company. The resto is still there at the Ground Floor level. They have other concept restos and its own webpage: https://foodeeglobal.ph/Brands/Mesa

manila-mesa-resto-inside-greenbelt-5-jan15

The mall is currently undergoing major re-development, with the ground level of Greenbelt 3 closed in 2019 for renovation. The new area re-opened in October 2021, which now hosts luxury labels and a newly-renovated Starbucks Reserve Cafe. One reason why maybe the TGIF resto is no longer there.  Greenbelt 4 will start its renovation works in 2022.

The official Ayala Malls on Greenbelthttps://www.ayalamalls.com/explore/ayala-greenbelt

Really if you are into shopping and in a great garden park with plenty of restaurant choices, this is the best one stop place in all Manila me think. To me of all the shopping malls I visited in the country (see posts) ,this was and is tops. Ayala Malls are everywhere but Greenbelt is in Makati, Manila!!

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

May 26, 2022

This is Lemery, Philippines!

I look again into my vault and saw bits of this nice experience meddle with other post so decided to take it out and do one post on it alone. One of my memorable road warrior experiences in the Philippines, I made several trips to the country over the last few years, 6 times to be exact from 2014 to November 2018, all memorable with many friends still in touch, see my many posts on the country in my blog. Therefore, let me tell you a bit more on Lemery in the Philippines! Hope you enjoy it as I.

lemery arriving town center nov18

The town of Lemery is in the province of Batangas, Philippines.  The town was named after Captain Roberto Lemery, a commanding officer of the local garrison. As the story goes , during the early part of the 18C, adventurous settlers from Taal, northern  Mindoro and southern Cavite were attracted to the vast plain near the shores of Balayan Bay because of its abundance in fish and other marine life The place was first called Punta, meaning “point”. In 1818, the village of Punta was converted into one of the neighborhoods of the town of Taal. It was later renamed San Geronimo. In 1858, the neighborhood of San Geronimo became officially known as Lemery, after the death in 1856 of Captain Roberto Lemery. For economic considerations, Lemery was again annexed to Taal in 1904. Finally by virtue of a presidential executive order, it became an independent town in 1907. Lemery lies next to the heritage town of Taal; together they form a single urban area. The boundary runs along the Pansipit River; the river area was part of the sea until it was buried by tephra deposits from the 1755 eruption of Taal Volcano.

lemery enter complex twin lakes passing nov18

I went up to Lemery for breathtaking views of Twin Lakes. I reached the town from Tagaytay via the Diokno Highway, which is the road I took, While passing by the nice fruit market of Tagaytay, province of Cavite ,about 59 km from Manila.

lemery twin lakes passing nov18

tagaytay

Some of the things to see here are :Fantasy World, Km 78 Diokno Highway, Masayang. 300-hectare (740-acre) theme park, though incomplete and closed to the public This is, however, a common stopover for picture-taking by tourists travelling from Tagaytay to Taal . As I did see pic.

lemery fantasy world park passing nov18

Casa Corazon Motorcycle Museum ,National Highway, Sinisian . A private collection with many bikes and some classic cars. Lots of BMW machines including one from WWII with a machine gun mounted on the sidecar. The complex also includes a restaurant, hotel and some park areas. Saint Roch Parish Church . Lemery’s main parish church, it dates back to 1887, and used to have a Neoclassical façade with two belfries. It was badly damaged by aerial bombing at the end of WWII in 1945, and the façade was replaced by a modernist one in 1968, with the belfries demolished , There is a major shopping center seen elsewhere in the Philippines but not here, however, worth the stop with time, The SM Center Lemery, Ilustre Street (Beside Metro Lemery Medical Center), Quite a large mall. Has a SM Hypermarket, Watson’s pharmacy and fast food chains.

The town of Lemery on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/MunicipalityOfLemery

The regional government of Lemery/Batangas on historyhttps://www.lemerybatangas.gov.ph/about/history

There you go folks, I feel better now having this wonderful road warrior experience in my blog,nice memories of the Philippines. Lemery was nice indeed, As said, many other visits there and been to several islands, great memories, and great friends. Do not know when back but if long the memories will lingered forever. 

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

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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!!!

Tags: , ,
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!!!

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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!!!

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