This afternoon I saw some amazing tombs, also from the Nguyen dynasty. One of them was also used as a hideaway by the king – not happy with the imperial palace, he has a second palace next to his tomb. The high taxes and forced labour to build it were so detested there was an attempted coup during the building.
The tomb itself is magnificently landscaped, with a huge slab describing the kings life in his own words (in the old Chinese-like characters the Vietnamese used to use). He even says bad things on it about his reign, apparently! How someone, along with his society, can accumulate the power to build things like this is extraordinary, fascinating, and I believe quite wrong.
A small reprise about language. French is actually quite useful in Vietnam, if only because of the large number of French tourists. A couple of people I’ve actually had to speak French with, which is very satisfying. My complex feelings about English being the global language get even more complex at this point… Bascially, I concur even more with the Esperanto theory that a world second language should be neutral, and not anyone’s native language. That way everyone has made the same effort to learn it, which makes people feel more equal, and puts both parties at more ease.
If you’ve tried emailing me recently, or tried looking at my website, it probably didn’t work. I’ve had trouble with the hosting account of flourish.org which is hopefully sorted out again now. Please try sending any emails again, and let me know if you have any problems still! ;) Special message for my Mum: You will need to reconfigure your email, because it is at flourish.org, and I can’t remember the password that you used to have. This isn’t scary, ring up Ray and he will tell you what to do.