Today we wandered to a lake in the centre of the city. It was nice to be somewhere that had a little more air to breathe.
On the way we went for lunch at Joma, which is a chain of cafes from Canada that serve Western food. I had humous and veg. I have missed humous!!! It may sound like we eat more Western food and we probably do but that's not because we don't like Asian food. At home, I rarely eat just British food, I've been brought up to eat lots of cuisines on a regular basis. It keeps it interesting so we're doing the same here.
For example, at home in a week I could be eating British, Italian, Mexican and Indian food so why just stick to one cuisine here. Plus I'd go insane having noodles or rice 3 times a day for 2 months. They eat noodles for breakfast, something that we can't bring ourselves to do yet.
We walked around the lake which was lovely despite the stares. Everyone stares at us. We don't exactly know why but we think it has something to do with our pale skin. No matter where we go, we get stared at. And they aren't afraid to keep staring once you look at them. I've learnt to ignore it now but it amuses me how obviously they do it.
After the lake we went to a prison museum, one that was used by American POWs and nicknamed the 'Hanoi Hilton'. For anyone that knows me, knows I am kinda obsessed with all things prison and criminals. Not in a creepy way but they intrigue me, I watch documentaries all the time. I know some people know what I mean so I was exciting to be in what was once a real prison - now what's left of it has become a museum.
Quick history lesson on Vietnam.. It was once a French colony until they gained independence just after WW2. So the prison was first used in the 19th century to hold Vietnamese political prisoners that objected to the French occupancy. The French were brutal as most other prisons across the world at that time were. The prisoners were chained down in a dark room and that were they lived, eating out of date food that made them ill. Any serious objections got the guillotine.
The prison was then used during the Vietnam war but these prisoners got it good in comparison. Whilst they were often chained up, they were allowed to play ball games, send postcards home, decorate for Christmas and eat a decent Christmas dinner. John McCain (the guy who ran against Obama) was imprisoned here and they have his flight suit on display.
The above is what I learnt whilst as the prison and with most other references to the war in Vietnam, it is probably biased. I'm sure it definitely wasn't all fun and games for the American soldiers.
Another interesting day followed by a delicious carbonara for tea.