Tạm biệt, Viet Nam

Trip Start Jan 02, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Vietnam  , Ha Nội,
Sunday, February 20, 2011

Caught the 9.15am bus/boat/bus back to Hanoi City, arriving around 2pm and heading straight for The Old Quarter. Found ourselves at Hanoi Backpackers Hostel on Ma May Street. $9 for a double bunk bed dorm including breakfast. The place reminded us of one of our favourite hostels, Top Banana in Phnom Penh, but was more commercial and modern, churning backpackers in and out. With TV, pool, darts and a roof top terrace bar it wasn't exactly an authentic experience but just what we needed, comfort.

We soon find out the sad fact that China was going to be too expensive for visas and we would have also been stuck for time. We decided we could spend a whole month slowly travelling in Laos meaning we could hang out with Lee and Michelle a bit longer.

Dressed up and went out that evening. We got lost on the streets trying to find Funky Monkey, a bar that was recommended to us. We were the only westerners in the place and virtually the only people there, but we made the most of it, jumping around to happy hardcore with some locals before the 1am curfew. When we got back, we met a Cambodian backpacker, Mary, who had been turned away once the Vietnamese staff knew where she was from. Not happy we argued her case and she eventually got her room. A strange form of racism that we weren't expecting to see.

Jamie woke up early and went out before everyone else was up to explore the crazy town. Everything is so tightly packed together and this makes for crazy traffic. After breakfast we all head out to the main technology district to find a hard drive for the most needed storage of our photos. We made the mistake of going into the Apple Store and desperately wanted a mac to be able to work on our photographs and use free wifi that is everywhere is Asia. With nothing in stock we call it a day with no hard drive  and no laptop. We have some terrible food and head back to the hostel feeling ill and bump into some people that we met on Cat Ba. We claim the TV later that night and very comfortably, on the beanbags, watch Inglorious Basterds. We had a great nights sleep.

A super chilled afternoon but an off the wall morning. Jamie and Lara went back to get themselves a hard drive and ended up with a Macbook Pro! Annoyingly we went to the official store where they said they were still out of stock, so we went next door and bought one for 880 quid, saving 120 quid if we had been buying in England. We went back to the Apple Store for a case only to find out they did in fact have stock and it was 100 quid cheaper. Their manager wasn't too happy with the new employee who had got it wrong, and neither were we! Feeling a little down about it, we walked back along the lakeside where there was a bit of commotion. We were told that there had been a very rare sighting of a myth like creature, The Sword Lake Turtle. An extremely large beast up to 2 metres long, weighing a quarter of a tonne! We were informed that the last one sighted was 11 years ago and if you ever saw it, it would bring you good fortune. We saw it several times and the locals were going crazy. Feeling privileged to have witnessed this legendary happening, it took our minds off the money we had just spent on a Macbook! 

The rest of the day we spent indulging in films, pizza, burgers and beer; oh dear! We book our ticket out of the country. So long Vietnam, bring on Laos!

20/2/11 31 quid
21/2/11 27 quid
22/2/11 18 quid

Bus to Laos 35 quid
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The Appletons on

Nice to see you didn't put the MacBook price on the day's expenditure...

Can I use yours yet?

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