This statue and park are just across the street from the Renaissance Riverside
Hotel where we stayed downtown on the river.
When I began to plan the trip, I joked with the travel
agent (my "little sister" Dieu) that I wanted to travel Tran Hung
Dao Blvd to get to my first home in Cho Lon and to go to Tran Hung Dao Street
in Ha Noi to visit Cotevina, from whom I'd bought a stamp commemorating General
Tran Hung Dao, so maybe we should call it my "Tran Hung Dao Trip". Soon
enough, I began to realize that one couldn't really hope to understand the Vietnamese
people and their history without some understanding of their reverence for General
Tran Hung Dao, for Nguyen Du's Truyen Kieu, and for Ho Chi Minh. [ I have
the greatest difficulty with the last one, since I think the war reflected a
failure of leadership by both Lyndon Johnson and Ho Chi Minh. But that's
a topic for another time . . . . see essay here]
I decided to replace the joke with a more serious search by visiting
sites related to General Tran Hung Dao, in hopes of developing some such understanding
along the way.