Thursday, 12 June 2014
Hanoi Day Five: Full moon over Hồ Hoàn Kiếm (Hoàn Kiếm Lake)
Today is the 15th day of the Chinese fifth lunar month, which makes it exactly one lunar month since my family spent our last full day on vacation in Vietnam. When we were in Hanoi on 13 May 2014, it happened to be Wesak Day too, which we couldn't celebrate back home in Penang but were lucky enough to have been caught in the midst of this holy occasion at the Chùa Bái Đính (Bái Đính Temple) (Bai Dinh Temple) in Ninh Bình (Ninh Binh) Province, about 90 kilometres south of the Vietnamese capital.
I'm jumping the gun with today's story as I haven't yet said anything about the morning of our Day Five in Vietnam. But you see, it is totally appropriate as a full moon story. When we were done with our dinner at the Chả Cá Thăng Long (Cha Ca Thang Long Restaurant) - again - we decided to take a stroll through the Old Quarter and as we neared the Hồ Hoàn Kiếm (Hoàn Kiếm Lake), my daughter alerted me to the nice, bright full moon in the sky.
Of course, we had to whip out the cameras and try to photograph the moon but the first few attempts on Auto mode only resulted in a round white orb. It was only after I switched to the manual mode on the camera and adjusted it to under-expose did I manage to get a decent picture of the moon:
So this is the full moon at Hanoi on the 13th of May, 2014. Then, as we rounded the corner, we came to the Hoan Kiem Lake with its Thap Rùa (Turtle Tower) all lit up splendidly. Out came the cameras again:
But then, right above the Turtle Tower was just about the most spectacular moon that I had seen for quite a while. A full moon over the Hoan Kiem Lake; a full moon over Hanoi, and what an occasion it proved to be as this was Wesak Day, the day of the Lord Buddha's birth, enlightenment and passing into Nibbana. A memorable end to a memorable holiday.