After our previous busy day of touring we started our next day of touring all refreshed and energised. We started our day by visiting a local house where the owner makes paper mâché masks. The owner Nguyen van Hoa is one of the last paper mâché mask maker artisans in Hanoi. Houses in Hanoi are usually apartments. The house fronts are very narrow but the are very deep. They are simple. Most houses have a small altar to pray and give thanks to ancestors. The Vietnamese don’t sit on sofas but rather on a mat on the floor. Their beds are not beds as such but a thin mattress covered with a straw mat.
Later in the morning we went to Hao Lo Prison. The prison is situated in the middle of the city. It was a prison used by the French Colonists in Vietnam for political prisoners, and later by North Vietnam for US Prisoners during the Vietnam War. During this later period it was ironically known to American POWs as the Hanoi Hilton.
The prisoners who broke the rules went into the cachot. They were put in stocks in a totally dark room.
The punishments were cruel and barbaric and the prisoners were fed rotten food. It was a very interesting place to visit.