I never had plans to travel to Vietnam, but after meeting so many travelers who reported that it was their favorite country I have to admit I was more than curious. So when my travel partners, Natalie and Lauren, invited me to join them for their two-week trip, I just had to say yes. So, on May 1 I flew from Bali to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and met up with the girls.
Another thing that Maren and I did in Mumbai was visit the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum (formerly, and more easily, known as the Prince of Wales Museum). The museum is beautiful and massive, and you could easily spend a few days roaming its halls. We, however, limited ourselves to a few hours and only two exhibits: the famous miniature paintings exhibit, and a new exhibit about ancient and modern medicine in India. Both were really superb.
Originally, these paintings were painted onto palm leaves in the 10th century, and later onto paper or cloth in the 14th century. The paintings often depicted illustrations from religious texts, mythologies, portraits, poetry, and legends. They are unique in their size and detail, each one with teeny tiny brush stokes using handmade paints. Some tell elaborate stories on pieces of parchment that are only about 8 inches wide and 13 inches tall. The museum had a collection of 200 of these paintings. Here are a few examples (we were allowed to take pictures because we paid for it… everything has a price in India):