Prior to flying to Vietnam, I made a list of “museums to visit” and there were about 10. But because I was more interested in checking out the cultural side of the country, I decided to just narrow it down to one — the National Museum of History in Hanoi. I had no expectations of the museum, which is why I truly enjoyed our time here. Advertisements
Sixty years after Hanoi was established as a city in independent Vietnam, Van Mieu (or more popularly referred to in English as The Temple of Literature) was founded as a Confucian school. The temple is one of the oldest and most significant buildings among Confucian complexes in Vietnam, and still remains a treasured cultural edifice.
The boats coming in, I am looking at the eerily serene world-famous karst from a deserted part of the Tuan Chua Island. It was a Saturday, our second day in Vietnam, and our first weekend in the country. How many people can say they spent their Saturday afternoon looking at the spectacular Ha Long Bay? Today’s cancellation horror turned out to be one of our best, if not THE best, memory of Vietnam.
During our trip to Vietnam, we were very circumspect in selecting the places we would be visiting so that we would have, at least, a deeper understanding of the country, its people, and its way of life. In Hanoi, one of the places we checked out was an old house — a heritage house — that has been restored to its former 19th century style.
Ta Prohm was made popular because of Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider movie. In fact, Ta Prohm is commonly referred to in Siem Reap as “the Lara Croft” temple. When I did further research, I later learned Ta Prohm is not just significant because it was used as a backdrop for Angelina Jolie’s movie nor because of the popular photo of the roots of a huge tree taking over part of the complex. Ta Prohm is not a temple.
What I find more interesting in Cambodia other than Angkor Wat is how its people coped up after the Khmer Rouge regime. It was a horrific time, at least in accordance with the books (and movies) I read. I am not very interested in wars and war paraphernalia, but I am interested in military tactics and effects of conflict to civilians, especially women and children. After our tour of Ta Phrom, which ended our Angkor Archaeological Park tour, we asked Kim to take us to the War Museum.
It was on my last day in the United States and I was in New Jersey staying with a family from our hometown. I was happily talking, after having just arrived from Tampa an hour before, when my uncle said we need to get moving to catch the last trip. OK, what trip is this? We are not going home to Siquijor and we need not catch the last trip to get to the island.
My aunt and uncle gave me a spin around the city of St. Pete. It is a small city and a LOT different from New York. But because it was a small city, it reminded me of Cebu and Chiang Mai — only you have a beautiful and uninterrupted view of the ocean in St. Pete. During one of those daily city spins, they took me to the Sunken Gardens.
When my plans to the U.S. were finalized, I immediately looked into the government website of St. Pete, Florida, and see what places it recommends to visitors. I was quite surprised to learn that St. Pete is home to the museum with the second largest collection of Salvador Dali art works — next to the museum in his home town in Figueres, Spain.
“Meet me at the steps,” those are the words I told my friend who I was meeting at the Metropolitan Museum. I sent her the message at 12:30. There was something wrong with the train and at 2:00 P.M., my colleague and I were still walking to the Met, praying we were heading towards the right direction.
The first museum my colleague and I visited was The Museum of Modern Art because it was on our way back to our hotel from the National Library at Bryant Park. The MoMa is behind the Uniqlo flagship in Fifth Avenue. Don’t be surprised to find a long, long line of people to the museum’s entrance on a Friday afternoon. That is because Friday’s is Uniqlo’s free museum day at the MoMa. We skipped the line though and paid $25. Was the $25 worth it?