Reflection #527 – Temple of Literature in Hanoi, Vietnam

I love Vietnam! I just can’t wait to go back.

Hanoi Temple of Lit

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Our first visit to Vietnam, we started in Hanoi and made our way south on the typical tourist trail, hitting Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, and finally Ho Chi Minh. It’s funny, because Hanoi is our favorite city. It was so easy to walk around the nicely shaded streets. It seemed so much quieter than Ho Chi Minh.

While in Hanoi, we visited the famous Temple of Literature where I took this photo of the wise turtles. Isn’t it interesting what cultures think represent different traits? For Americans, we revere the owl as our wise character, but in Vietnam, it’s the turtle. As it turns out Native Americans also believe the turtle is a pretty intelligent character.

He certainly looks wise with his measured movements and wrinkly features. Aesop thought so, too, in his fable the “Turtle and Hare”, slow and steady sure beats out fast and impetuous. That, by the way, is why I keep Jim around. He definitely is the slow and steady type, and he does a pretty good job of slowing me down sometimes, too.

At any rate, there are plenty of wise turtles among the many steles of writing and knowledge. The temple is a Confucian temple, and it honors all students and wisemen. It is a quiet, serene and beautiful place to meander around, and being one of the first places we visited in Hanoi, really set the scene for an easy and comfortable visit throughout the country.

It certainly was a wise choice to visit this friendly country.  The people were wonderful.  The food was great.  The history was fascinating, and it was a fantastic trip, and the Temple of Literature in Hanoi was the perfect place to start.  Like I said, I can’t wait to go back!

What animals do you associate as being wise? How about the culture where you are currently living? Is it different than your own?

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