Greetings to one and all,
I had rather hoped that my war posts had ended but they have not. Sorry to those who are sick and tired of the subject, just delete this email!
Our last day in Hanoi was spent at the Women's Museum. I had tried to go to that during our first few days, but it was closed. It was extremely interesting to me, but also eye-opening, to say the least. The museum had a variety of exhibits (4 floors), there were photos of famous Vietnamese women who were scientists, economists, teachers, athletes, and so forth. The Communist Party has worked hard to document and pay tribute to achievement, as you would expect. There also was a floor dedicated to hand crafts, some very remarkable bamboo weaving and silk weaving, fabric arts, and that sort of thing. There was a floor dedicated to the ethnic minority women--full mannequins in traditional costumes. Many we had not seen before, many were from the south and so we have not run into them. Also I learned that there are ethnic Viet minorities, ethnic Cong minorities, two groups I have not seen mentioned at all anywhere. There are some minority groups who are nearly extinct and because they generally do not intermarry, will soon be so. One group has a mere 400 people left in a single village, near SaPa. We met a British tourist who had trekked there. The majority of the Vietnamese people are from the Kinh group, and that is what we refer to as Vietnamese today. I would be very curious to know how the Viet people and the Cong people fit into these populations, as linguistically, I would have expected the Vietnamese people to be of Viet origin. These things are nearly impossible to discover here at least.