Day 10 and 11: Bring your own toilet paper

Edit: I just realized I forgot to include the picture the entry is named after below.

I was all set and ready to work on this blog today, but the hotel’s Internet is super slow right now and it’s taking forever. Ugh.

In the last entry I wrote about going to two parks where park photographers hounded us. Well, on Day 10, we went to the estate of Vietnam’s former king, Bao Dai. Well, it was nice, but it was certainly no Chateau de Versailles.

We were greeted at the gate with this:

Tom and Jerry are HUGE in Vietnam. You see them on TV, on clothes, on shoes, on merchandise everywhere. I think they used to be popular in the U.S. a long time ago. For those of you who have never heard of it, “Tom and Jerry” is an extremely violent and sadistic cartoon where a poor cat is repeatedly tortured and maimed just because he wants to go to bed not hungry for once. If you ask me, someone needs to call Animal Services and report the cat’s owner, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, we went inside the palace and immediately were forced to wear these foot covers, which were ridiculous because several parts of the palace were filthy:

This is the former king, Bao Dai, who died a few years ago in Paris, France:

I don’t know much about him, so I gather that after the Vietnam war, he probably sought refuge in France, the country that used to rule us.

Here’s a bust of him:

This is (was?) the queen:

This was their conference room:

This was their living room, I think:

This was one of their family’ members’ bedrooms:

This was their garden, which the park’s employees were really excited about. But as I said, this ain’t no Chateau de Versailles:

And of course, nothing is too sacred here if a buck is to be earned from it. Tourists could pay money to dress up like the royal family and get photographs taken:

Tourists like my mom…:

Here I suppose she’s expressing disgust or shock at her supposed servants:

And here she is sitting in the former king’s automobile:

I actually sat in it myself and the seat was tiny, not much room for my legs.

Of course, there was a gift shop, and we bought this:

My mom was hoping it was made by blind children, but it wasn’t. (More on this in a future entry.)

Then we exited and the stupid bathroom was closed for renovation, so guests had to use a pay bathroom across the parking lot. I said hell no, and walked deep into the woods behind the park and was glad that my male anatomy allowed to do some things standing up.

Here’s a nice scene I took of the area while waiting for my mom:

Then my mom and her friend were talking about this lake, but it looked boring to me:

Afterwards we went to eat at a restaurant that was known for this:

The soup itself was really thick, almost gelatinous, which grossed me out, but my mom said that was the real proper way this dish is meant is meant to be served.

We went shopping again that night and the next day we took our 8-hour ride bus back to Ho Chi Minh City.

Along the way, we stopped at a very overpriced bus station where I saw these giant lollipops:

And by the way, I had to take a picture of this to show the reality of some public restrooms over here:

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