The day happened to be the day of the second leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup which took place in Hanoi itself. So we decided to head out for dinner and find us a bar that broadcasted the game. We finally found one as well, although the bar was not as packed as thought. Most probably because of the prices for the drinks as we found out later. However, we enjoyed watching the game and Vietnam actually made it to reach a last minute draw to make it 1:1 and thus beat Thailand for the first time in ten years and win the AFF Cup for the first time in history. I guess I don't need to mention the excitement on the streets thereafter, the city was a total nuthouse, bikes and Vietnamese flags everywhere, people wearing head bands and chanting "Vietnam vo dich", which means as much as Vietnam are the champions. I picked up the chant pretty fast much to the amusement of many people on the street, which might also have been due to the little headband I was wearing after buying it off a street merchant. The city was chaos and the victory was celebrated as if Vietnam had won the world cup, a very nice experience to see so many happy people celebrate without any violence.
We still had the whole next day in Hanoi before we were to take the overnight train to Sapa and so we had a very pleasant day strolling around the inner city and the lake of the returned sword in Hanoi. We also took a trip on a cyclo for an hour to enjoy another means of transportation we hadn't tried before.
Finally Betty had another strike of genius and we left our luggage at the hotel we had stayed in, rather than carrying it around Sapa a whole day in between our 2 overnight train journeys. All fell into place and we had another nice dinner - my first and only western food dinner during the trip: Spaghetti bolognaise.
Funny enough the bus that we went back to Hanoi in was exactly the same size as the local bus we had taken the day before, only now it was packed with westerners. The three hours bus tour this way was a bit cramped, but we managed alright once again. Being dropped in the middle of Hanoi we jumped on a cab to drive to our hotel that our travel agent had booked for us the day before.