We got up and had breakfast at our hotel. Then headed out to explore the city of Hanoi. We walked around the lake then walked to Hoa Lo Prison, ironically nicknamed the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ by US POWs during the American War.
Most exhibits relate to the prison’s use up to the mid-1950s, focusing on the Vietnamese struggle for independence from France. There are also displays focusing on the American pilots who were incarcerated at Hoa Lo during the American War. These include Pete Peterson (the first US ambassador to a unified Vietnam in 1995), and Senator John McCain (the Republican nominee for the US presidency in 2008). McCain’s flight suit is displayed, along with a photograph of Hanoi locals rescuing him from Truc Bach Lake after he was shot down in 1967.
The propaganda leans heavily towards how nice the prison was for the Americans. To the point that Sierra made the statement that it looked nice for the prisoners. That it didn’t look harsh or bad. I had to explain to her that they aren’t displaying the images of the men being tortured. They are only showing the side that they want people to see.
At the museum we met a team of American service personnel that were on a mission to recover MIA remains. That for the past 30 days they had been digging to bring home the remains of our military from over 40 years ago. I thought it was fascinating that they got selected (told) to go on this mission. What an honor.
Afterwards we walked to a large mall. It was extremely over priced. A half off dress was still $49. So we looked around and headed out. We walked some more and found ourselves in a garment district. Most of my travel/backpacking clothes are from Patagonia or North Face. North Face is made in Vietnam and sold literally everywhere. So we look like we are wearing cheap knockoff Vietnamese clothes.
We decided to take a cab to the Museum of Ethology. It is a museum of the tribes within Vietnam. Our favorite part were the rebuilt homes outside. You could walk around and go inside all these different style homes used throughout the hills and country of Vietnam.
Afterwards we took a cab and went to visit the Reed’s! Christina and Dennis were so gracious by having us over for dinner in their home. It was so nice to see them and their boys! The Reed’s have been living in Vietnam as missionaries for the past eight years. I felt horrible that I didn’t plan on seeing them as I would have loved to have brought them items from home.
Sierra had a great time getting to know the boys. Steven, Andrew, Jeremiah, & Ethan. They played outside and had foot races. Andrew kept accusing Sierra of going easy on him and wanted her to really try against him. Jeremiah didn’t think it was fair that he at 6 had to go to bed at the same time as his 3 year old brother when the older 2 get to stay up later. The boys are so mature and polite. The entire family was such a joy to be around. I really want to plan a trip out to visit them soon. It would be nice to bring a short term mission team out to visit the hill tribes with Dennis.
After we got in the taxi to go home we realized that we didn’t take any pictures.