Finding Napoleon in Southeast Asia

In November, 2012, I took a break from writing about Napoleon to travel in Southeast Asia, visiting Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.  It was primarily a bicycling trip, and, I assure you, my equipment was higher quality than what you see above in the photo snapped in the picturesque fields of Vietnam. Here’s another method of travel I definitely enjoyed.

During this trip, as always, I kept an eye out for references to Napoleon (or even Napoleon III, knowing that he had started France’s aggressive colonialism in SE Asia in the 1850’s).  I didn’t find much.

For example, downtown Hanoi still has some colonial French architecture, but at the famous Hotel Metropole, while the doorman says, “Bonjour” with a credible accent, that’s the extent of his French language skills.

Finally, after three weeks of travel, as I waited in the Hanoi airport for my flight home, I came across this image of Napoleon on a bag of coffee.  I think the best translation for the quote on the package is, “Without coffee, politics loses its soul.” I’d be happy to hear other suggestions.

5 Comments

  • Melanie
    February 15, 2013 - 9:47 am | Permalink

    Napoleon pitching on a bag of coffee… *laughs* I am certain he’s been drafted as spokesman for many other items. Are there many others you have run into in your travels? The travel-by-elephant service probably couldn’t reasonably utilize him (don’t imagine “l’homme” didn’t have occasion to travel that way), but with the Egypt campaign – of which I and probably so many others don’t know much about – did he ever go by camelback?

  • Melanie
    February 15, 2013 - 9:51 am | Permalink

    *more laughter* Perhaps I should have had some coffee prior to sending that post!

    *Ahem* What I meant to phrase it as (correctly):

    Napoleon pitching on a bag of coffee… *laughs* I am certain he’s been drafted as spokesman for many other items. Have you run into some in your adventures? The travel-by-elephant service probably couldn’t reasonably utilize him (don’t imagine “l’homme” had occasion to travel that way), but with the Egypt campaign – of which I, and probably so many others, don’t know much about – did he ever go by camelback?

  • mrodenberg
    February 20, 2013 - 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Napoleon did ride on camels in Egypt, Melanie. I have a photo (not of him on the camel!) of a statue of him on a camel. I’ll find it and post it for you. Interestingly, when he was deciding what symbols to attach to his dynasty, he considered elephants, but settled on bees and eagles.

    Thanks for asking.

    Margaret

  • Pingback: Finding Napoleon » Napoleon on a Camelback in the Musée Fesch

  • Pingback: Finding Napoleon Bonaparte in Madrid – Part 1 - Finding Napoleon

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Copyright © 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 Margaret Rodenberg