The emperor of Vietnam sought exile in France in the 1950s, and died not too long ago. He had five children (a lot for a Vietnamese family), one Beloved By All beauty queen wife, one concubine, and a few palaces.
We visited the one in Da Lat. It was a strange experience.
A man inexplicably dressed like a monkey sat on a half wall outside, half-heartedly beckoning people for photos with him; another man stood poised next to three small, very pregnant horses, ready for riding.
The parking lot was the usual circus of peddlers and buses.
Inside it was worn and tattered--not the opulence you'd expect from royalty--even expelled royalty.
And in one room sat this guy, dressed in king's clothing for the crowds, bored, answering his cell phone while tourists snapped his photo.
I wondered what the king who lost his country would have thought.