Thursday, January 6, 2011
(PICTURE: My sister, mom, dad and me at the Ho Chi Minh stilt house complex.)
I've been to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum no less than a dozen times; that's about eleven times more than the average native Hanoian. In all those times, the most drama that ever occurred is when a security officer went through one of my female friend's bags and pulled out a tampon to question her as to what it was.
When I took my family and friends to the mausoleum, well, there was a little more drama. As per usual, the security stopped all the women and went through their bags. Then after passing through the metal detectors, everyone turned over their cameras to the camera booth to hold on to. Next we all waited our turn in line to enter the mausoleum. After waiting for some delegation to go through before us, we were given the green light to enter the always freezing cold room. Two by two we entered the most sacred place in Hanoi and walked around the glass-encased body of Ho Chi Minh. The serenity of the moment though was quickly broken as soon as I exited the tomb; that's when one my family members said something like, "The security guards grabbed Dana out of line to search her." Then someone said, "Did she sneak in a camera?" Immediately my stomach dropped thinking that my cousin hadn't turned over her camera and was now getting interrogated by the elite guards who are stationed inside the mausoleum. The drama ended quickly though as Dana walked out of the mausoleum with a smile on her face. Thankfully she had followed the rules and apparently just looked suspicious.
In all my times visiting the mausoleum, I've never seen the guards budge an inch. However, when the August clan is in town, everything goes out the window.