It was in Vietnam that I spent a moment with the corpse of Ho Chi Minh.
Ho Chi Minh was a communist and revolutionary leader who sought to see his nation free from colonial influence and led the North Vietnamese in an effort to expel U.S. forces, crush the South Vietnamese government, and reunify the country.
Ignoring Ho Chi Minhs wishes to be cremated when he passed away, his successors built the above mausoleum to house his remains, and is now ogled at by thousands of tourists.
It was on a dreary day in northern Vietnam that I joined the back of a three block long queue full of school children off on an educational day trip to see their dead hero.
The queue trotted along at a clipped pace, looked on by intimidating armed guards in pristine white uniforms. It wasn't until inside that I understood why the line had moved so fast. We all had a literal ten seconds to look at him before being hurried out the back door.
I must admit he looked better than I would after being dead for forty years, Ho Chi Minh's body lay like snow white in a glass case. The corpse had the appearance of a mannequin and I couldn't mentally process that I was looking at a dead body.
I guess, I expected the body to look more... taxidermied? And just found the whole experience strange; the tourism of the dead, the children present, the kilometre long queues, the guards and the strict control of the crowd. And the obvious question, why would they put on display the dead body of their beloved hero?
You might be interested in reading about solo travel in Central Vietnam
Pin it to your Asia travel board: