It's a beautiful day
September 2nd was the 60th anniversary of the 1945 August Revolution, that threw off the shackles of French colonialism and opened a new period in Vietnam's history.
The big issue about this year was the fact that there was a giant parade in Hanoi (normally Ho Chi Minh City seems to get all the best ones).
Managing to surface at 6am was a sign of my dedication in catching this rare event, and I wasn't dissappointed...amazingly enough I managed to persuade Jon, Hemma, Nicola, Sarah, Jo and Shev all to forsake the pleasures of a relaxing national holiday spent in bed and we met at the corner of Dien Bien Phu.
The first indications weren't too hopeful, until luckily we found out that the parade would actually be running down the street only a couple of minutes away...as the temperature rose, the anticipation began to build and there was a fair number of people lining the street. Around 7am cannon fire could be heard and two helicopters swept over us carrying the national flag...and then the parade began.
Despite the fact there were over 10,000 participants in Ba Dinh Square taking part in the celebrations, the parade itself was a stripped down version, which was just as well as we were all beginning to melt by the end. By 8 we all trapsed over to a cafe which used to be frequented by Katherine Deneurve, and then home to bed...
Later that day I had a phone call from work calling me in, so I nipped in and prepared myself for the evening meal ahead. For some reason I decided that I'd eat dog again, so at 6pm Mark and Tu popped over on the way to the dyke road stretch of dog restaurants. Tu managed to order six dishes, and while I didn't really fancy the sausages(dog offal and blood...nah sorry), I tried pretty much everything else. The most gruesome looking dish actually turned out to be the nicest of all - the dog legs. Once you stripped away the rather dark, tough looking skin and yellow fatty part, the meat was suprisingly tender. As I've previously mentioned, dog pretty much tastes like lamb, but the legs were more muttony I think, although I am far from an expert...Read more about the experience here
Having finished up at the dog restuarant we zipped back into town to meet up with Kate and Mark just as the streets began to fill with eager firework goers...At one point it became complete gridlock, it taking about ten minutes to get across one junction. At Bar 69 we met Mark, Kate, Bin and Connor, two friends of Mark and Kate's from Australia. By the time the fireworks had finished the streets had pretty much emptied out and it was easy enough to finish up at the Maquis for a nightcap.
Good day all round!