Friday, February 10, 2006

Take them off!

This sign made me laugh and laugh and laugh. Lucky for me, I was wearing long trousers so I didn't have to walk into the pagoda pant-less. Nevertheless, many people stood and stared at me laughing at the sign. I was quite a tourist attraction - I'm surprised no one took a photograph of me. No one else laughed. Well, that's not entirely true. When I explained the sign to my sister (whom I've taken to calling the Accountant) what was so hysterically hilarious about the sign, she also joined me in a stomach enhancing chuckle.

I am sure the good folk at One Pillar Pagoda did not intend the meaning I took. But if you are vsiting Ha Noi, heed my advice: don't wear shorts - you may be asked to take them off!

This is not One Pillar Pagoda. One Pillar Pagoda has many many pictures of it, and when I was there it was surrounded by tourists (me & my two sisters being more culprits) and the beauty of the place was lost. This was a pagoda we visited at almost dawn one morning - Chua Tran Quoc. (Chua is the Viet word for pagoda, so this is Tran Quoc pagoda) The pagoda is on the edge of a Ho Tay ( West lake). To maximise the little time we had in Ha Noi, we got up at the wee hours - the first morning to see all the folks doing Tai Chi and other exercises beside Hoan Kiem lake. Our last morning in Ha Noi we rushed out to Ho Tay as my eldest sister (the Vegetarian) wanted to go to a pagoda that she could actually pray at. The Vegetarian prayed while the Accountant and I wandered around the grounds - empty of all people except for a young woman ineffectually sweeping the path.

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