Saturday, October 11, 2008

Museum of Ethnology

Today, I was treated to a trip to the Museum of Ethnology by a student of my house mate Paul. Ha, and her friend, (also named Ha), showed up at 10:00. Ha, Ha, Paul, and I hopped on a couple of motorbikes, and we fought our way through the crazy Hanoi traffic to the museum that chronicles the history of the 54 distinct indigenous peoples of Vietnam.

The Vietnamese are a fairly slight people in general, especially by my super-sized American standards, but I guess they used to be even smaller. Apparently, they lived in these tiny houses...

And fished from these tiny boats...They were probably around 1 or 2 inches tall. But of course, they use centimeters here, so that's just a rough estimate.

The most formal people of Vietnam are the White Thai people.
The White Thai have a reputation for being a little snobbish, but very, very dapper - especially when donning their traditional top hats and tails.

You may recall from earlier blog entries that they tend to load up motorbikes and bicycles like pack mules here. They really have a talent for it. It's about half art and half sport. This bicycle loaded with baskets was so well stacked that it actually made it into the museum.
(If there are any young children in the room, you may want to cover their eyes for this next part.)

As we walked the grounds we came upon some sort of statue orgy.This one noticed me staring and looked like he wanted to beat me up, or worse. So we moved on pretty quickly. It was a little shocking and uncomfortable.I was also shocked that there were so many things in the museum that you could handle as you walked around. There were full sized stilt houses on the grounds that you could walk through, and displays with artifacts lying out in the open.
Someone's getting an ancient artifact for Christmas...

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