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Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum is given pride of place in Hanoi, surrounded by a giant square, presidential palaces, and parkland all blessedly free of motorbikes and scooters.

This was the first embalmed revolutionary leader either of us had seen*, and it looked…just like a wax figure to be honest. Rather underwhelming from my perspective, and Uncle Ho would probably have agreed – he wanted to be cremated and have his ashes returned to his home village. Of course, he should have known that the State’s desires will prevail.

Still, an intriguing sight, clearly a big event for the mostly Vietnamese processing through, and the surrounding park, with its colonial palace and HCM’s more modest domicile, was rather lovely.

* I had believed that we needed Lenin, Mao and Kim Il Sung to complete the set, but it seems that Kim Jong Il and Hugo Chavez have also joined the ranks in recent years. Plus Ferdinand Marcos, if he counts.

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